Super 17 challengers hope to make hay this year

Molly Kay holds up the ribbon that will be awarded to the winner of Island County Fair
Molly Kay holds up the ribbon that will be awarded to the winner of Island County Fair's Super 17 Challenge while her father, Gary, shows off the fish-themed quilt he made.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

When the Island County Fair rolls around, some people just want to do it all.

That’s the theme behind Super 17, an attempt to spur more entries into specific categories of exhibits at the fair by the general public.

The idea is to get folks to try and enter one item in each of the 17 categories which include food preservation, baked goods, needlework, quilting, sewing, fine arts, photography, adult crafts, fiber arts, floral, vegetables, fruits, grains and grasses, wine, beer and cider, educational displays and a 2008 logo contest entry. The prize is bragging rights and a huge ribbon.

“This is a non-premium event,” noted organizer Molly Kay. “Exhibitors will receive points for the individual exhibits they enter but no extra points for the challenge.”

Each entrant receives a special fair patch and the satisfaction of a job well done. The winner is determined by the number of blue ribbons awarded in the Super 17.

“The challenge is to strive for all 17, even if you end up with only four,” Tarey Kay said.

“To make the effort is a marvelous experience; it’s all about your talents while expanding your abilities to the max. I discovered I like to knit and my husband Gary made a quilt,” she added.

And he’s real proud of it.

“It’s a ‘Finding Nemo’ quilt for a 4-year-old boy,” Gary Kay said as he held it up for everyone to admire. “It features characters from the movie hidden within a complex, colorful pattern.

“I sewed every stitch of that puppy,” Kay added. “The thing is, the fair is a place for learning, being productive and just having fun,” he said. “It’s an interactive community event and we want folks to join in, big time.”

Terry and Rhonda Parmenter thought they had waited too late to compete.

“We started in June and we’ve been playing catch-up ever since,” Terry Parmenter said.

They turned in their photos and fine arts entries on Aug. 4 and will drop off their baked goods and perishables today at noon.

Last Saturday, it was everything else as Terry Parmenter displayed the fruits of his labor; a quilt turned into a table runner, pickled asparagus, homemade mead (from a closely-guarded recipe based on honey, water and yeast), a felted coaster, strawberry jam, Ukranian Easter eggs, beer labels, cross stitching, a woven basket, a polar fleece coat and a large display on the history of the orb. Not to mention a large welded bronze insect for the adult craft category.

Why would anyone do all this?

“Because we’re crazy,” Molly Kay laughed.

“The thing is, fair entries have been declining over the years and we hope this gets people thinking outside the box, to be creative and involved,” she said.

Kay won’t know how many people will take up the challenge this year until entries are judged, but she hopes the concept takes wing in the future.

“Come on out this week and see what’s happening,” she urged. “And it’s not too early to be thinking about 2008. You’ve heard of extreme sports? This is extreme fair.”

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