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At the fair: Still exhibits showcase talent, hard work

March 01, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — The rockets, some big, some small, some shaped like the space shuttle, others shaped like rockets of old, are lined on the stage of the Hulsienda at the Imperial Valley Expo.

In another section of the building intricately designed pillows are lined up and in another area paintings and chalk drawings are displayed. Behind glass cases are baked goods, from brownies to cakes and all types of cookies.

Every exhibit, from the rockets and the pillows to the paintings and cookies, was created by Imperial Valley youths and will be on display throughout the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta, which starts at noon Friday.

The still exhibits are created by those ages 5 to 18 who are part of 4-H clubs, schools, churches or working on their own.

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Just like those young people who raise animals for judging at the fair, the still exhibits go through judging and the participants take home prizes, including ribbons and a few dollars, depending on whether they win grand champion or grand champion reserve in their level and class.

Hundreds of young people from throughout the Imperial Valley take part in the still exhibits, which include everything from building rockets to crafting dolls to painting, to sewing pillows to baking to raising vegetables and plants.

There are kites, metal projects, hand-sewn clothing, photography and many other creations.

Earlier this week the smells of freshly baked goods filled the Hulsienda as judges tasted the delights and picked victors. A day later judges were going from one still exhibit to the next examining efforts.

Those judging said the youths get a lot out of taking part in such projects, adding they learn a new craft and ways to express themselves.

Judges Kilah Wilkinson and Dawn Faulkenstein on Wednesday were busy judging the plants and vegetables.

"I just think it is awesome that you can plant a seed and something like this can come up," said Wilkinson as she reviewed a flowering plant.

The judges said it is difficult to choose the winner but what they look for is originality and signs of effort put into the creation.

Judge Irene Gould, looking over the arts and crafts, said, "The kids learn dexterity and they learn to do something on their own."

Judge Bonnie Bellenfant said, "It is important that the kids put effort into their work."

D'Ann Luckey, a co-community leader for M&M 4-H Club in Brawley, said the kids in her groups worked hard to perfect their projects, which ranged from sewing clothes and baking to putting together an entomology display.

"I think especially for the kids who do not have animals, the still arts are very important," Luckey said. "It gives them some extra recognition."

She added it would be well worth the time for the public to stop at the Hulsienda building to see the exhibits.

"There is a lot of talent these kids have," she said.

Linda Hamby, co-community leader of the Family 4-H Club in Westmorland, said the kids in her group start work on their projects as far back as the summer.

"There is a lot of work put into this," she said, adding she would like to see youths get the same kind of recognition for their work on the still exhibits as those who raise animals for the fair.

She said the kids who raise animals at times get thousands of dollars for their effort.

She said some of the still exhibits can be costly but the kids do not earn nearly as much as they have to spend. She added it is costly to do sewing projects and photography.

She added while the financial payoff might not be as high, "these kids are learning life skills."

Hamby's daughter Sarah, 16, did a photography project and entered clothing she had sewn into the competition.

"You are learning things you can use later," she said.

Chris Sharp, community leader for Holtville 4-H, said the work done by the young people is inspiring.

She said the youth take with them "a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of pride and ownership that instills values that will carry through into their adult life."

The Hulsienda is near the entrance of the fairgrounds and is open throughout the day.

Admission for the fair is $6 for adults and $3 for children. For those who purchase tickets before the end of today the cost is $4.75 for adults and $2.25 for children.

Admission for seniors is $3.

Parking is $2, or $1 for those buying a parking ticket by today.

Wristbands can be used for one night between Monday and Thursday and are good for both admission and the cost of carnival rides. If purchased by today, a wristband is $14 and can be bought at Vons stores or the fairgrounds.

After today the wristband is $18.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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