Home Arts at heart of fair

By Karl Terry, PNT Managing Editor

The Home Arts Building at the Roosevelt County Fair is the place numerous county residents make their fair connection.

The variety of divisions and categories provide opportunities for a wide range of talents from baking and canning to handiwork and woodwork.

Even though she’s entered items in the Roosevelt County Fair every year since the 1940s, Gene Marshall said it not about the competition but the friendship.

“We have so many great women in the county,” Marshall said. “I wouldn’t miss the fair for nothing. That’s where I see all my friends.”

Marshall, 83, turned out in the morning to help her extension club decorate its booth with a quilting theme then spent the afternoon checking in handiwork entries.

The former 4-H leader said she still wins her share of blue ribbons, but she makes a point of helping others with their work when asked.

She enters a variety of categories, but her great love is crocheting. She said if she takes a break from pulling weeds at home she picks up her crotchet project.

“Crocheting is restful to me,” Marshall said. “If I wasn’t crocheting I would think, ‘I need to be up doing something.’”

Glen Fields was starting his 18th year as superintendent of the woodworking and metal art department Monday. It’s a job he’s been doing ever since he retired as an industrial arts teacher at Portales High School in 1990.

Fields was busy checking in items that Johnny Stroud had brought in, including wooden bowls and cups and a cedar chest.

Fields said the department had grown steadily over the years until last year when numbers were down slightly. He said it looked like entries for the 2008 fair were rebounding.

“This year we’ve picked up some big projects,” he said, showing off a two-piece 7-foot by 5-foot mantel made to fit over a pellet stove. “This is the first year I’ve had this many big projects.”

Fields said was entering a gun cabinet he had made for someone else.

He said he likes seeing the work and talking with others that work with their hands.

“I see a lot of my students from my shop days,” Fields said. “It’s nice because lots of them say, ‘I’m able to do this because of the things I learned in your class.’”