Dozens of Western Idaho Fair contest participants are in their 90s

kmoeller@idahostatesman.comAugust 24, 2013 

  • SUNDAY IS HALF PRICE WITH STATESMAN COUPON

    The Western Idaho Fair is at Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City, through Sunday.

    Hours: Saturday: Noon to 11 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m.

    Admission: Adults and kids 12 and older, $8; children 6 to 11, $5; children 5 and younger, free; seniors 62 and older, $6.

    Carnival ride tickets: One carnival ride ticket, $1; wrist band, $30 for whole day; sheet of 25 tickets, $23; sheet of 80, $70.

    Special discounts: Sunday is Armed Forces Day (service members get in free by showing military ID). Nonmilitary can get in half-price Aug. 25 with a coupon from Idaho Statesman (in paper Aug. 20-25, and at Statesman booth).

Ruby Gould lives in a Caldwell retirement center but she’s not missing out on the fun at the Western Idaho Fair in Garden City.

Gould, who will turn 95 in September, won a blue ribbon in the amateur division for one of her china paintings. The birth announcement plate features a kitty holding a bouquet of balloons.

Gould said she paints with friends, usually once a week.

“We like to win,” Gould said. “It isn’t a very big issue with me — I just do it for fun.”

“It keeps me going,” she added. “At this age, it gets harder all the time.”

The culinary and home arts departments even give out “eldest senior” awards to oldest participants.

Eilene Evans, 99, a retired teacher, won in home arts this year. No winner was crowned in culinary because none of the entrants wrote down their age, a fair official said.

Evans’ son, David, who lives in Boise, said he entered an afghan his mother made for him. It took her at least a year to complete.

“I told her she wasn’t allowed to die before she finished,” said David Evans, who plans to surprise his mom with the colorful fair ribbon.

To enter an item in the senior division of the home arts department, you have to be 70 or older, said superintendent Marla Marosvari.

“It’s a little more difficult healthwise — with eyesight and arthritis — to compete with the general public,” Marosvari said. “I’ve thought about bringing it down to 65 but, generally speaking, I don’t get a good response.”

The challenges faced by some seniors include money for materials. There’s a category for scrap quilts seniors can enter.

Marosvari enjoys watching contestants — and their families — learn what they’ve won.

“We hear a lot of, ‘Oh my mom did this,’ and ‘Oh my grandmother did this.’ It kind of connects families,” Marosvari said.

One of her favorite stories from this year’s fair was a couple who entered quilts in the senior division. Robert and Phyllis Miller of Boise both won ribbons — Robert took home the blue first-place ribbon and best of division for senior quilting; Phyllis took the second-place red ribbon.

“Everyone who came by, he was telling them about his quilt,” Marosvari said. Because Robert took top honors, Phyllis may be treating him to dinner at Red Lobster.

Boisean Irene Wright, 98, will take home a red ribbon, even though she may never make it to the fairgrounds.

“I have bad legs, so my son does the running around for me,” she said.

Wright had an entry this year in the recycled category in the hobby crafts department. She turned holiday cards into decorative boxes.

“I had some Christmas cards, and they were so pretty,” she said.

Katy Moeller: 377-6413

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