Seniors discover, refine talents for 4-H Fair

August 06, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Braxton Wolbert says he builds birdhouses and feeders to stay out of trouble.

"I had to have something to do when I retired," said Mr. Wolbert, a 68-year-old Eldersburg resident.

His champion birdhouse, which resembled a rustic wood cabin, was among more than 100 examples of arts and crafts entered at the Carroll County 4-H Fair's Senior Citizen Day yesterday.

About 60 Carroll County senior citizens brought projects to this year's fair, said Brenda Lerner, the county's community services programs coordinator.

"And then you have to double that, because they all brought more than one thing," she said, motioning to the crocheted afghans, handmade dolls and clothes, and woodwork on the exhibit shelves.

"We have a lot of talented seniors here. Some of them didn't start until they were retired and had the time. They didn't know how talented they were."

Each entry is judged by community judges -- Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and Angie Waltz this year -- for workmanship, design, materials and overall impression.

"We usually pick people from the community who have an aesthetic sense, who will appreciate these things and will be impartial," Ms. Lerner said of the judges.

All entries receive a white ribbon for good work, a red ribbon for better work or a blue ribbon for the best work. Best overall entry in each category is honored with a purple champion ribbon.

Laura Ridinger said she was shocked when her crocheted doily with a wheat and grape design was chosen as a champion.

"I did a little at a time until I got it made," Ms. Ridinger said. "When I felt like crocheting, I worked on it."

This was not the first time she had entered a crochet project in the fair. Ms. Ridinger, a Westminster resident, says she has been crocheting for years and has entered lace collars and paintings in earlier exhibits.

"I have a painting here, but I've had better pictures than that," she said. "I like to show what I can do."

But Mr. Wolbert said he'd like to have seen a few more entries in his class.

"It's nice," he said of his ribbon. "But, just bringing one in here . . . " he said with a shrug of his shoulders, as if there weren't enough competition for his taste.

Although many of the entries are from senior citizens who attend the county senior centers, any resident over 60 is eligible to enter.

"We're getting more and more entries from the community," Ms. Lerner said.

The variety of entries also has increased since Ms. Lerner began working with the fair 10 years ago.

"We're getting more and more canned goods and woodwork," she said. "We're also getting more and more men to participate. It's nice to see them starting to participate more, too."

For the first time since Ms. Lerner has worked with the project, a mother and son entered the competition.

Myrtle Haines, a Westminster resident in her 80s, has been entering needle craft projects and receiving blue ribbons for years, Ms. Lerner said.

This year, her son Raymond Haines entered the woodworking category with two painted wood figures.

"We've got a whole family here," Ms. Lerner said.

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