Leta Jones says that ever since her 10-year-old daughter Keri was little, she has been drawing.
"She's been an artist since she could hold a pencil," the Evans mother said. "She keeps her hands busy all the time. Drawing is her passion."
This year, Keri decided to put her talent to the test, entering seven exhibits in the Merchants Association of Columbia County's annual fall fair. In the end, she won three first-place awards in the drawing, diorama art and holiday ornament categories.
"I was surprised," said Keri, adding that this was the first time she had entered exhibits.
Shirley Williamson, the county's 4-H extension agent youth coordinator, said more than 1,300 youth and adult entries were submitted and judged for the exhibit Oct. 13.
The contest, which is sponsored by the Columbia County Extension Service and 4-H Club, is for children pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and for adults.
Williamson said $2,000 in prize money and ribbons were awarded to winners.
"Everybody's a winner," she said. "This is just a big family thing,"
Kanta Kondur, an exhibit participant, agreed.
"Me and my kids, (Pooja, 11; Dileep, 13; and Hema, 14,) enjoy making homemade pillows, handbags and quilts (for the contest)," she said.
She said her children began sewing after the family decided to give their grandmother a handmade handbag for her birthday several years ago.
"Sewing is a hobby that my kids enjoy. This is a skill they can take with them for the rest of their life," Kondur said.
From pictures, drawings, homemade handbags, clothing, hair accessories, costumes, Christmas wreaths and ornaments to 4-H portfolios, Williamson said, art was a popular exhibit this year.
"Artwork is the main and most competitive (exhibit)," she said.
All of the exhibits, Williamson said, will be on display from Nov. 4-13 at the fair.
For more information, visit www.co.columbia.ga.us or call 868-3413.
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