ENID, Okla. — Exhibitors were busy putting the finishing touches on their booths Thursday morning for the 2019 Garfield County Fair, which runs through Saturday at Chisholm Trail Expo Center, 111 W. Purdue.

Homemade baked goods, art, photography displays, chickens and a variety of crafts and informational booths could be found Thursday, as exhibitors prepared for their wares to go before fair judges.

Women of the Garfield County chapter of Oklahoma Home & Community Education Association (OHCE) were on hand to display a wide variety of quilts, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, decor items and homemade clothes.

Doris Kirk, with Garfield County OHCE, said the group's members look forward all year to the opportunity to show off their work at the fair.

"There's lots of hard work done here," Kirk said. "The ladies work hard all year long to enter the fair."

Kirk said at one time there were more than 40 OHCE groups spread throughout communities in Garfield County. Now, there are eight.

But, she said, the work and passion of OHCE members is just as strong as ever.

"It isn't dying," Kirk said. She said OHCE is able to pass down the skills and pleasure of making handcrafted items from generation to generation for one simple reason: "It's fun."

"It's just the pleasure of doing it," she said. "It's our creative gene coming out."

Sue Schmidt said OHCE attracts members from across the county from ages 15 to 95. They work together, she said, to provide educational activities for OHCE members and in the community.

Recent projects have included making breast cancer awareness pillows, privacy covers for emergency responders to cover victims at accident scenes and "tooth fairy" pillows to help educate area grade schoolers about dental health.

Martha Gabriel, of Pioneer Wheathearts OHCE, said the group helps foster a sense of community.

In the rural area surrounding Pioneer High School, that means gathering remote residents around activities at the school and Pioneer Skeleton-Creek Fire Department.

Each year, Pioneer Wheathearts members make 2,000 cookies for the annual fire department fundraiser.

"The fire department helps us, and we help the fire department," Gabriel said. "We have to work to make a community, because otherwise we don't have one."

Each of OHCE's eight groups in the county takes on diverse projects, Schmidt said. But, she said, the fair is something they all have in common.

"We are out in the community doing a variety of projects," Schmidt said. "But, we all come together at the fair."

Garfield County Fair continues today, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, and Saturday, with exhibits open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days.

Friday activities include swine, sheep and goat judging beginning at 8 a.m. and the pie baking contest at 10 a.m.

Heifer judging, followed by steer judging, take place beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, followed by the horse show in the outdoor arena at 9. The Best of Wheat bread baking contest will be at 1, and the Homemade Ice Cream Crank-Off, with an opportunity for the public to taste-test a variety of ice creams for a donation, will be 6 p.m. Saturday.

Fair awards will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Monday, followed by the premium sale at 7.

For information, including the full fair guide, go to https://www.chisholmtrailexpo.com/2019-garfield-county-fair.html.

For information on OHCE, go to the OSU Extension Office at 316 E. Oxford, or call (580) 237-1228.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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I am a retired Naval Officer and small business owner, outside of my work at the News & Eagle. My wife Tammy and I enjoy serving together at church and attending Gaslight and ESO. We have two daughters, three dogs and little free time.

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