It's not all about animals: Ramona Junior Fair participants win ribbons for handmade creations


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Jun 14, 2023

It's not all about animals: Ramona Junior Fair participants win ribbons for handmade creations

Ramona Junior Fair participants showed the animals they’ve raised, but a number

Ramona Junior Fair participants showed the animals they’ve raised, but a number of them also entered handmade items — from food, photography and artwork in the Home Economics Division to woodworking, metal work and welding projects in the Industrial Arts Division.

Submissions and the ribbons they were awarded were on display in the Home Economics building on the fairgrounds the week of July 23-30. Many of those items were auctioned after the animal auction on July 30.

Here is a sampling of the contestants who won ribbons for their projects.

Name: Hope Ash

Age: 18

Projects: Acrylic painting of chickens and mango-lemon tarts

Hope Ash entered two projects in this year's Junior Fair Home Economics competition — an acrylic painting of two chickens and homemade mango-lemon tarts.

Hope received first- and second-place ribbons in the Home Economics division, earning a Best of Show for her painting and Reserve Best of Show for the mango-lemon tarts.

"I’ve raised chickens and turkeys all of my life and they’re my favorite animal ever," said Hope, a Ramona resident and Ramona Stars 4-H club member of nine years. "I draw chickens a lot and they’re fun animals to draw. I love creating things."

At age 9 she won first place at her first Ramona Junior Fair show, where she showed a chicken. In years since, she has shown mostly turkeys and dairy goats in addition to entering the Home Economics contests.

Hope, who has been painting since she was 11, spent two days painting her chickens just before the fair started.

"I really liked working with the colors on the chickens painting, mostly the blues and yellows," she said. "They’re very fun to work with. You can make lots of colors and shades and highlights with them."

Hope said she first considered entering mango-almond tarts in this year's Home Economics contest, but she added too many almonds and switched to mango-lemon tarts. She said she wanted the tarts to be sweet with a little tang.

"I like experimenting with what I bake," she said. "It's fun to take an original recipe and twist it into something more fun and flavorful."

She said she was surprised that she won a ribbon for her tarts — she thought her sister, Hannah Ash, would win for her cranberry bars.

Name: Cameron Martineau

Age: 10

Project: Wood and metal birdhouse

Cameron Martineau participated in the Industrial Arts division at the Junior Fair for the first time — entering his wood and metal birdhouse.

It took him only one day to build the wooden birdhouse, stain it, and attach a metal license plate roof, he said. Along the way he learned how to cut wood and nail it together and bend the roof and nail it down.

"I chose to do this project because I like building birdhouses," Cameron said. "I liked that I got to spend time with my dad and have fun."

The Ramona resident wasn't expecting to win the Best of Show Junior Division contest, but he was happy when he found out he did.

"I liked that someone actually liked it," he said. "I’m going to give it to my grandma in Ramona."

Cameron has also had fun raising animals as a 4-H club member during the past four years. This year he's showing pigs and a steer at the Junior Fair.

Name: Gracie Flack

Age: 16

Project: All-terrain vehicle trailer

Gracie Flack spent about two months building an all-terrain vehicle trailer that can be used to haul quads, riding mowers, off-road vehicles or heavy equipment.

She started making trailers with her two older brothers, Dusty Flack, 19, and Cory Flack, 23, last year. Since then, she's made and sold several trailers.

"I like keeping my hands dirty," said Gracie, who learned about fabrication and welding from her brothers and dad, Tyson Flack. "I’m a hard worker. I don't like sitting around."

Gracie customizes each trailer by building wood or metal tops and adding tire racks. The trailer she made for this year's Junior Fair will be sold to a buyer who custom-ordered it, she said.

Her trailer won a Reserve Grand Champion ribbon, or second place, in the Industrial Arts Division.

The Santa Ysabel resident says she plans to move soon to Ramona, where she will have a bigger workshop and more room to build, and can be more competitive in future Junior Fair competitions.

As an FFA member for two years, Gracie has been showing goats at the Ramona Junior Fair and San Diego County Fair for two years.

"Goats are kind of like dogs — they’re man's best friend," she said. "They take a lot of training. They’re smart animals, but you have to spend time with them."

Name: Ben Boling

Age: 16

Project: Wood and epoxy coffee table

Ben Boling of Pine Hills spent a year making his wood and epoxy coffee table for the Junior Fair.

He took over the wood project from Julian resident William Wilt, who had trouble applying the epoxy resin correctly, he said. Ben stained the wood and added grooves to bring out the natural colors of the wood. Along the way he learned to use tools and apply the epoxy, he said.

"I liked being able to finish it and get it show ready," said Ben, who won a Division Champion for Woodworking in the Industrial Arts Senior Division.

His other woodworking projects have included wood cattle feed racks to hold hay or feed, wood rings and an oversized toothpick.

The FFA member has shown two goats at the Junior Fair — a goat named Hestia after the Greek goddess of the hearth last year, and a goat named Gracious this year.

For more information, visit the Ramona Junior Fair website at