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And this year's homemaker and junior homemaker winners are from left: Gloria Mitchell, homemaker of the year, Elizabeth Richardson, runner-up homemaker of the year, xxxxLobdell junior homemaker of the year and xxx runner-up homemaker of the year.

And this year’s homemaker and junior homemaker winners are from left: Gloria Mitchell, homemaker of the year, Elizabeth Richardson, runner-up homemaker of the year, Danielle Lobdell junior homemaker of the year and Kylie Kuebler, runner-up homemaker of the year.

By Crystal Hayduk

Friends Jane Kalmbach Bryan and Kathy Cavender arrived before dawn to ensure choice seating in the Multipurpose Arena for the popular Ladies Day event on Friday, Aug. 26.

When the doors opened at 8 a.m., the 228 ladies who rose early were rewarded with muffins, juice, and hot coffee.

Women shared their enthusiasm as they waited for the morning’s activities to begin.

Ladies Day crowd.

Ladies Day crowd.

Barb Wolfgang still has fond childhood memories of coming to the fair with the Ann Arbor Riding Club. Her daughters and grandchildren were involved with livestock and small animals, and she credits participation in the fair as a way for children to learn a variety of skills.

“The fair is more than just a carnival,” she said. “The love between a child and an animal is priceless.”

Dorothy Richards began coming to the Chelsea Fair in 1992, and now attends with her daughters and grandchildren – all Chelsea residents. “It’s clean and safe, with nice people,” said Richards. “The food’s outstanding and I feel that the rides are well attended. There’s so much joy to be had at the fair.”

Ladies Day Superintendent Mary Tobin introduced lifelong friends Laurie Williams and Debbie Colesa, who opened the two-hour program with a harmonic, a capella rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Gloria Mitchell, homemaker of the year.

Gloria Mitchell, homemaker of the year.

Williams and Colesa said the two met when they were only a year old. “Debbie’s dad was the pastor of the church that my family attended,” said Williams. “The story goes that we spotted each other – our birthdays are only four days apart and we were about the same height – and we’ve been friends ever since.”

Women over 18 years old received a goodie bag, and registered for more than 150 door prizes of goods and services donated by local businesses and individuals.

Entertainment was provided by dancers from Studio 3 Performing Arts Center and vocalist/musician Rob Crozier.

Highlighting the morning’s events was the announcement of the winners of the homemaking contest. Entrants 18 and over vie for Champion Homemaker; age 17 and under compete for the title of Champion Junior Homemaker.

Contestants submit an entry and earn points for exhibits entered in at least four of nine departments: agriculture exhibits, antiques, arts, canning, floriculture, food preparation, machine sewing, needlework, and quilting.

Gloria Mitchell was crowned Champion Homemaker with 279 points. Mitchell is married to John, has three grown children, and eight grandchildren. This is the first time she’s registered for the homemaking contest, but she’s participated in 4-H all of her life, and has entered many exhibits over the years.

“I was born and raised on a farm,” said Mitchell.

Elizabeth Richardson, runner up homemaker of the year.

Elizabeth Richardson, runner up homemaker of the year.

Granddaughter Katie Wickman won Junior Champion Homemaker last year and encouraged Mitchell to apply. “She had more points with her entries than the person who actually won last year, so I told her she should just try it,” said Wickman.

Elizabeth Richardson was named Runner-up Homemaker with 174 points.

Richardson, a photographer and writer, is married to Ross. She entered the contest with the goal of learning new things. “I’ve had a wonderful time and met so many nice people,” said Richardson. “The superintendents were so kind and warm when I was submitting entries on Sunday. They made it a special day.”

Danielle Lobdell was crowned Junior Champion Homemaker with 267 points. A senior at Chelsea High School, she is the daughter of Cathy Lobdell. Danielle, who began entering exhibits at an early age, was named runner-up in 2013, and has competed every year since then to reach her goal of champion. “It’s nice to be acknowledged for my work,” said Danielle.

Kylie Kuebler was named Runner-up Junior Homemaker with 196 points. Kylie is also a senior at Chelsea High School, and is the daughter of Darryl and Kolleen Kuebler. A seasoned exhibitor, this is Kuebler’s first attempt in the homemaker contest. She said that making and entering the number of items required to do well takes a great deal of effort. Her advice to would-be contestants is to start early and set aside the whole day for entering exhibits.

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