Kate Phillips, 6, shows off the floral wreath she made for the 4-H competition at the Merchants Association Columbia County Fall Fair. Winning entries will be displayed at this years fair. Kate, a first grader at Brookwood Elementary School, says she will go shopping if she wins any of the categories she's planning on entering.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Jennifer Nelson won $21 for something she has been doing as a hobby since middle school.
Jennifer, 17, a junior at Evans High School, entered some of her handmade, beaded jewelry into the 2000 Merchants Association Columbia County Fall Fair Youth Exhibits sponsored by the Columbia County 4-H. Three of her pieces won first place ribbons.
Not too bad for something she enjoyed doing and just decided to enter. She found out about the contest through her involvement in 4-H. She's been a member since the fifth grade.
"Most of it sells in a beauty shop," Jennifer said. "I used to make it all the time to sell it and stuff so I entered it into the fair as crafts. It is fun to make them."
4-H is introduced to pupils in the fifth grade through their school. The local 4-H chapters always have encouraged youth to enter their handmade crafts into Richmond County's annual fall fair exhibits.
Since the Merchants Association purchased the 61-acre fairgrounds on Columbia Road, they have made several changes, including improvements to the buildings and display cases, said Shirley Williamson, 4-H and youth county extension agent for Columbia and Richmond counties. The group began featuring the exhibits at the county fair in 2000 when the cases were built to house the entrees.
Last year's fall fair had 500-600 entrees, Williamson said. The categories contained everything from decorated pencils and macaroni art to watercolor paintings and floral arrangements.
Kate Phillips, 6, is entering her arts and crafts for the second year.
Jennifer Nelson, a junior at Evans High School makes a necklace out of hemp. Jennifer will be entering her necklaces in the Merchants Association Columbia County Fall Fair Youth Exhibits sponsored by the Columbia County 4-H. In 2000, she won three blue ribbons for her jewelry.
Photo by Chris Thelen
"She just really enjoys crafts," said her mother, Carol. "She loves to make stuff."
Kate, a first-grader at Brookwood Elementary School, checked off almost half of the long list of categories she would like to enter. She has a mask and butterfly she made in school, a flowered wreath, a leaf-stamped kitchen trivet and birdhouse she made at home to enter.
Though Kate admits she has more fun making the crafts than exhibiting them, she knows what she is going to do with her winnings if she wins this year.
"Spend it," Kate said with a big smile at the thought of going shopping with her own money.
Cash prizes for each category are: first place. $7; second place, $5; and third, $3. The youth winning Best in Class is awarded $25 and the Best in Show title brings in $50.
Last year's exhibits brought about a new categorybecause of the surprising amount of patriotic entrees, Williamson said.
"Each year will never be the same because you never know what you are going to get," Williamson said.
The contest is open to any youth, not only 4-H members or Columbia County residents. The entry has to be a project created by the youth within the past year. Only one project can be entered in each category per child.
To enter simply bring the artwork to the fairgrounds on Columbia Road across from Patriots Park Columbia between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sept. 21, where youth will fill out tags for eachitem . This is the only time artwork will be accepted for the exhibit as they will be judged that same evening.
Tags can be filled out on the drop-off day. For youth with more than 10 projects, Williamson recommends picking up tags from the extension office at Savannah Rapids Pavilion between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and filling them out in advance.
There are four age groups, Pre-K-second grade, third-fifth grade, sixth-eighth grade and ninth-12th, in 38 different categories including homemade clothing, painting, floral arrangements, ceramics, holiday and, of course, patriotic.
"As adults, we cannot realize how important artwork and projects are, however large or small they are, for them to see their artwork on display," Williamson said.
She remembers one young man who had made and entered a birdhouse and brought every member of his family to the fair to see it displayed. The project had fallen down. He was upset that his family did not see it, so Williamson went into the case and secured it back into hanging position, so he could see it.
"It meant the world to him to see his work on display," Williamson said. "It means that much to all the youth however large or small it is."
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