Crafts and Mercer County Fair create kinship

July 30, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Anyone familiar with the results of the Floral Hall at the Mercer County Fair and Horse Show will recognize the names of Linda Cloud, Darlene Tyler and Tamme Schroeder.

None of them can count the number of blue ribbons each has won over the years, but their Mercer County homemakers' club has led or been second in the number of ribbon winners for 23 of the last 24 years.

The three women have more than just crafts, the Dixie Belles Homemakers and Floral Hall entries to hold them together. Cloud and Tyler are sisters, and Schroeder is Tyler's daughter and, therefore, Cloud's niece. Surprisingly, Cloud lives in Boyle County but participates in the Mercer County Floral Hall. Her attachment to Mercer County obviously is her sister and niece.

This year, Cloud entered 36 items in Thursday's Floral Hall. She and Schroeder also recorded the entries of other participants' crafts in the second day of contests at the Floral Hall. Cloud is chairman of crafts and while she did the paperwork required, Schroeder placed them along the display setups, ready for the judges to determine winners.


For her part, Tyler has been the county chairman for the Floral Hall at the Mercer County Fair for many years. As they were talking about their activities in homemakers, Carolyn Royalty, Mercer County extension agent for family and consumer sciences, walked by.

"We appreciate the work these ladies do for the community," Royalty said.

The members of the Dixie Belles work all year long making crafts and not just for blue ribbons.

While Tyler, Schroeder and Cloud and one other member, Carlyne Short, enter items at the fair, all 13 members of their homemakers' club make crafts to sell at two annual craft sales. The money they raise goes to one to three needy families in the community at Christmas. The number of families depends on the amount of money they are able to raise at the sales.

Tyler said the club has raised between $500 and $1,500 a year at their sales, and all of that goes to help families in need at Christmas time. The club has put out five cookbooks, and Tyler said income at the sales is best when they have a cookbook for sale.

The members participating in the fair get paid for their ribbons: $3 for a blue ribbon; $2 for a red ribbon and $1 for a white ribbon. The members keep that money, and there is an internal point system that determines the top club at the fair.

Each exhibit by a club member earns the club one point, and then a blue ribbon garners five points; a red ribbon brings three points, and a white ribbon gets one point. It is the total of those points that determines which of the Mercer County homemaker clubs is the top exhibitor.

Tyler said they didn't do well the first year the Dixie Belles participated in the fair. "We didn't know what we were doing," she said Thursday.

Floral Hall is broken up into two days because of the number of categories. "Mercer County has more categories than any of the eight counties in the Fort Harrod area," Tyler said. She should know; she is the person who puts together the catalogue. This year there were 505 categories.

"Some county fairs have fruit pies," Tyler said. "We have apple pies and peach pies and other specific fruit pies." In addition to the homemaker clubs, youth and 4-H have divisions in Floral Hall. The fair is sort of a lull in a year of craft making for Dixie Belle members.

The fall craft sale is usually at the end of September or early October. The Christmas craft sale is usually at the end of November or early December.

Central Kentucky News Articles