Eagle: Crafts displayed at fair
EAGLE, Colorado Want to know what your neighbors are really doing in their leisure hours?You can find out by visiting the open class exhibits at the Eagle County Fair.Open Class exhibits at the Eagle River Center pavilion open to the public starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The entries can be viewed through Saturday, any time the fair is operating. Exhibits range from fresh-baked pies and homemade quilts to art projects made from recycled materials and zucchini coaxed to grow in a high-altitude garden.The fun is in meeting the people who enter, and seeing what they bring, says Mary Jo Gerard of Gypsum, who has served as open class superintendent since the mid-1980s.Gail Muehlethaler of Eagle agrees. It was at the county fair open class competition last year that she learned about Howard Risks talents. She knew Risk through his work at the airport and at Costco and he is also a professional photographer. His photo took grand champion honors and he has fascinating stories to tell about his former career photographing celebrities.Muehlethaler also says that the open class competition is a great place to get ideas for future projects, or to find out just who might be able to help with your next knitting effort.The open class competition is open to both children and adults. In fact, most of the Muehlethaler family was scrambling to get projects completed over the weekend. Bryce, 10, had built a lobster boat out of Lego building blocks, complete with a lobster trap, that he will enter in the hobbies and crafts division. Hes also planning to enter some of his artwork from school; and maybe some carrots from the garden, if they vegetables are big enough to pick.His older brother, Ben, is planning to bake a batch of cookies. Gail will enter the tote bag she made out of Capri Sun foil pouches (you have to see it to believe it) in the recycled arts division.In the years she has supervised the open class competition, Gerard has come to anticipate just who will show up with an intriguing entry. Dee Dee Emmer of Eagle, who enjoys canning, always tries to create an entry that stands out from the crowd. One year it was roasted red pepper sauce. The next year it was pickled asparagus.Gerry Olesen, who has a huge field of potatoes alongside Highway 6 a short distance west of Eagle, always enters some prize-winning spuds. Norma Hurd of Gypsum, a long-time participant in the fair, will be entering a quilt she made after taking some sewing classes during the past year.Its fun to have the challenge to try to make something people might enjoy seeing, says Hurd. She also volunteers as a fair superintendent, and enjoys the opportunity to visit with the people who come to the fair.Theres some people you only see once a year. Once they get to the fair, you have time to talk, she observes.Gerard gets a kick out of the unusual items people bring in for the recycled arts competition. One year, a resident of the Colorado River created an engine out of recycled materials. One of Gerards grandsons made a dinosaur out of old car parts.People always come up with different ideas, she says. She also sees, in the canned goods and home-grown vegetables, peoples desire to produce their food themselves a sort of getting back to the old days effort.Gerard, in addition to supervising the open class competition, also submits a few of her own entries. In fact, like many of the competitors, she was doing some last-minute baking over the weekend. Her first effort was not a success.I either didnt cook enough, or did some terrible measuring, she confesses, with a laugh. No problem. She has a few other completed projects to enter.Of course, the reward comes when the ribbons are handed out.Its fun to go look for all your stuff, and to see what you got, says Bryce Muehlethaler.