The last Sunday of fair week is almost as busy as the day before the annual community event begins.
Early in the morning, the livestock are taken by trailers to the various processors and numerous adults and youth take down the gating and scrub it clean for next year. Then the barns are swept, and hosed down by volunteers of all ages.
Green barn exhibitors begin arriving about 9 a.m. to pick up their canning, artwork, needlework, antiques and cakes, replacing the midway rides and games.
Elaine Lange of Sylvan Township was one of exhibitors who arrived just after 9 a.m. to pick up her quilt entry.
A labor of love, she spent 4-5 months cutting and sewing her “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” quilt, then decided to enter it at fair.
“There are over 2,000 hexagons in it,” Lange said of her first-time entry, which took the blue ribbon in its class.
Lange said she’d made eight or nine quilts in the past, but never entered her work in the fair before this year.
This one, she said, was special and more complicated than several of the ones she’d made in the past.
And even though the beautiful work was a first-place winner, Lange said it would be used the same way as any of the others she’s sewn.
“You know what people do with quilts; it will be thrown around the house,” she said.
“I’m very proud of her and the beautiful work she does,” her husband, Bob, said, adding that she takes care of the couple’s 11 acres and vegetable garden as well.
When asked about tips for people who might like to try quilting, she suggested starting with a simple pattern and following it carefully.
Then “practice and don’t give up, you’ll get better at it,” she said.
So, what were her plans for the $4 in premium money she won? “I might buy Bob a McDonald’s,” she said with a grin.
And, yes, she plans to enter again next year, and has already picked out a new design. But she’s not giving any hints about which one she’s chosen.
By 10 a.m., almost all the exhibits had been picked up by their owners and the parking area held a smattering of cars.
There were just three farm animals left on the grounds — three young calves in the Nature’s Creation of Life barn that were waiting to go back home as the remainder of the barn was swept clean.
Volunteers picked up trash from around the grounds, and your hard-working fair board members were still at it, directing traffic, loading up and storing equipment, in anticipation of putting a period on the last sentence of the 75th Annual Chelsea Community Fair.