Local students take part in state fair’s excitement

More than a few local students made their way back to Washington County with prizes and accolades from this year’s Ohio State Fair. The behemoth event was exciting, if not a little nerve-wracking, for the local youth who represented the county in everything from art to animal projects.

The state fair was a new experience for Waterford resident Eric Flowers, whose pet rabbit project took home first place. While 17-year-old Flowers has shown his projects at all of the Washington County fairs-Washington County, Barlow and Waterford-the state fair was a much different atmosphere.

“It was sort of funny. There was a project for cats the same day and people were dressed up very fancy showing their cats,” said Flowers.

Besides the much wider array of projects than those typically seen locally, the sheer size of the state fair is staggering, he said.

“It’s so big, and there’s so many more people,” he commented.

Flowers estimated he competed with around 20 other youth from across the state in the Senior Pet Rabbit category. Taking home first prize was a proud moment for Flowers, who celebrated by taking in some of his favorite fair activities.

“I like looking at all the animals. We got to see the Budweiser horses. They were bringing the whole team of Clydesdales to perform in the parade,” he recalled.

The state fair was also a new experience for 12-year-old Lowell resident Gabriella Grabow, who participated in the Get Started in Art Junior Creative Arts category.

“My project was a watercolor, a picture of a butterfly I painted. It was my first time doing a watercolor,” she said.

Part of the project included being interviewed by a panel of judges on her work, but Grabow took it all in stride.

“They just asked me how some of the art techniques-balance, harmony, rhythm-were applied to the painting,” she said.

While Grabow did not take home the first place ribbon, she was happy to be given an Outstanding of the Day award, which she got for placing in the top 20 percent of her class.

An Outstanding of the Day award in Senior Public Speaking with Computer also made the experience that much sweeter for Churchtown resident Marlee Stollar, who has already competed at the state fair a handful of times.

“It’s a great experience. I’m from the CARTEENS 4-H club and it’s an experience that helps me get my 4-H club out there and tell people what we do, which is help enforce traffic safety,” explained Stollar, 16.

For her presentation, an approximately 10-minute talk about the dangers of drunk driving, Stollar used a Power Point, had an audience member demonstrate impairment using drunk goggles, and spoke about ways to avoid drinking and driving.