The Multi-Purpose Arena barn was rockin’ and the ladies were swoonin’ Friday morning at the annual Ladies Day event at the 75th Chelsea Community Fair.
Let’s not forget the dancin’, too. They sang. They caught Teddy bears, laughed and hoped that their name would be called for one of the many door prizes donated by local businesses.
But one young face shone brighter than all the others in the room. And that was the radiance of Junior Homemaker Champion Annie Nichol, 12, of Chelsea.
It’s an honor she’d dreamed of since she was 5 years old and Melanie Burchett, the 2005 junior champion, let her try on “the crown.”
“I always wanted to do it for the tiara,” she said, adding that she entered 59 items in the fair and received 24 firsts, 13 seconds, 10 thirds and five fourths for her entries.
Only four or five of them didn’t place, she said, ading that she’d worked very hard this year to vye for the honor.
She thanked her mother, Jody, for helping her with the baking and her dad, Andy, for helping her with the canning.
She said she entered baking,canning, sewing, antiques and agriculture.
In addition to what she accomplished during the year leading up to fair, “I did a lot of work the week before fair,” she said, still smiling well after her moment on stage where she received her sash, plaque and the coveted tiara.
In fact, she took sewing classes and baked and grew vegetables and took a lot of photos, too.
“I aimed for 65 entries,” she said, and came close, and walked away with $160 in premium money, some of which she planned to spend at fair.
Her advice to future junior homemakers? Start working on your entries the week after fair and try to enter as many things as you can.
“My mom was a huge help,” the Beach Middle School student said. “I couldn’t have done it without her. She texted me and encouraged me, reminding me that I could do it.”
In addition, this 75th year of the Chelsea Community Fair marked the first male to “break the glass ceiling” and enter the junior homemaker competition. He finished runner-up.
Nich Hoffman, 15, of Lyndon Township, decided to try his hand at the competition and entered about 30 items.
And to the best of Ladies Day Superintendent Mary Tobin‘s knowledge, he’s the first male to enter the homemaker competition.
“My mom told me I should enter because she thought I could probably win; that I could make a statement by entering. So I did.”
Homemaker contestants must enter in at least four of the nine still exhibit categories to be eligible.
Hoffman entered a lot of art work, baking, canning and vegetables. He said his total numbers weren’t as high as he’d hoped, and they didn’t do as well as he’d hoped, but, he’s glad he tried.
His mother, Ana Hotaling, entered as an adult homemaker contestant, and she finished third. Undaunted, she plans to try again next week at the Saline Community Fair.
Plus, her husband, Jae Hotaling, might toss his hit into the homemaker competition as well, so 2013 could be an interesting fair for the family.
“After I win,” Ana Hotaling said. “He plans to enter.”
As for Nich entering again next year? He’s mulling the idea.
But he’ll be the first to tell you that his opinion of the tiara; well, it’s not the same as Annie’s.
Adult Champion Homemaker was Christina Overpeck, with a total of 313 points. Last year, she was the runner-up.
This year’s Adult Runner-up Homemaker was Andrea Webb, who had 248 points. She won the title in 2010.