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While her name may not be attached to it, United Way of Hardin County Executive Secretary Annetta Holmes’ work can be found each year at the Hardin County Fair in the arts and crafts building.
Holmes is just one of three individuals who help to set up and run the arts and crafts exhibits each year.
She got her start at the fair in 1979 with her high-school home economics teacher, Francis Winebrenner.
“They needed some extra help out there,” Holmes said. “What they were actually looking for was a tall person to help hang stuff up, and I qualified.”
Holmes has remained at her position since then because she enjoys getting a chance to see and meet with different people.
“For about ten years, I worked outside of Hardin County, so that was my one time of the year when I could see people that I didn’t get to see the rest of the year,” she said. “I remember going to the fair as a kid with my parents and they’d stop and visit people. Well of course, when you’re a kid, you want to go on the rides and do those kinds of things. Now, I can’t tell you the last time I was down the midway.”
Along with seeing people she knows, meeting new exhibitors is another aspect of the job Holmes enjoys.
“It’s a lot of fun, especially when you see new exhibitors come out and maybe they get a blue ribbon or they place on something,” she said. “…It’s so fun to see someone bring in something who’s never exhibited before; it really validates them to think, ‘Yeah, I can do this, and I can do this well.’”
One of her responsibilities as a superintendent in the arts and crafts building is to choose the classes in which the exhibitors will be able to enter, though some of them are standard each year.
“We fluctuate a little bit depending on what’s the popular thing to do at the time,” Holmes said. “A few years ago, everybody was doing counted cross stitch; now, not so much, but people are into other things.”
After deciding on the classes, they are sent to the fair board for approval.
It’s also Holmes’ responsibility to bring in different judges to the fair. Holmes said judges are rotated so exhibitors don’t try to cater to what one particular judge may look for.
“We just want (the exhibitors) to make something they’re proud of,” she said.
Following the judging, samples from the different food categories are given out for everyone to taste. While Holmes and the other superintendents have full access to the samples, she said it’s not a good idea to sample too many of them.
“A few years ago, the three of us figured we’d put just a tiny bit of each pie on a plate. We thought one bite apiece – there were about six or seven plates full of pie – and the three of us sat down and we tasted them,” she said. “By the time we got to the second one, we thought, ‘This was a bad idea.’ So we threw the rest of it away. Since then, we only taste a couple pieces. I don’t know how the judges do it.”
Following the judging, Holmes and the others put the exhibits on display for everyone to see.
“When people enter stuff in the fair, it’s because they’re proud of what they’ve done; they’re not going to take something out there they’re not proud of,” she said.
In fact, Holmes has entered some things of her own in the different sewing categories and has done quite well in the few years she has exhibited.
“I always thought, maybe I shouldn’t because I work there, but then the judges don’t know, they have no idea,” she said. “Actually, our sewing exhibits were going down, which made me feel bad because I sew; there’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t sew. So I thought, I’ll just enter some stuff to help build it up, and I’ve done pretty good.”
According to Holmes, she has entered five different items in the sewing categories and has placed in four of them, and understandably so; she’s had plenty of experience in sewing, something she has done since the age of 9 when she did her first 4-H project.
Holmes also sews professionally, doing custom tailoring and alterations.
Something Holmes has recently started to take up is quilting. She, along with other members of her group, Kenton Soroptimist International, are currently working to make quilts for a shelter for women who are victims of sex trafficking.
Holmes has also entered a quilt as a fair exhibit with which she took a rosette.
“It was for my grandson for Christmas,” she said. “I made each one of my five grandchildren a quilt last year for Christmas, so that kept me really busy.”
Holmes said she already has one or possibly two more quilts planned for Christmas this year.
By TY THAXTON
Times staff writer