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A taste of the fair at home

Frances Beck took top prize at Alexandria Assisted Living's "mock fair" for the quilt she created when the U.S. only had 48 states. She included the state bird and flower for each of those states in her quilt. (Contributed)1 / 6
About half the center's 32 residents brought in projects they had made throughout their lives. Leonard Floding displayed a napkin holder and a children's game. (Contributed)2 / 6
Toymaker Gordon Schmidt took top honors for his wooden toys during the assisted living center's mock fair. Since residents didn't want to attend the county fair, staff created a fair for them. (Contributed)3 / 6
Eugene Morrissette hand-carved his loon and crafted a bird house from hockey sticks. (Contributed)4 / 6
Resident Lucille Younggren brought in her painting of a chickadee. Besides arts and crafts, the staff recreated the flavor of the fair with cotton candy, mini-corndogs and other fair food. (Contributed)5 / 6
Pat Fearing brought clothes and quilts she had made. Others brought embroidery and other handiwork, and assisted living center staff members acted as judges. (Contributed)6 / 6

The elderly residents of Alex Assisted Living felt they would get too hot and worn out going to the Douglas County Fair.

"How about if we bring the fair to you?" activities director Vange Anderson asked them.

That idea went over well. So Anderson planned three short days of fair-flavored events. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, Anderson arranged for games, including bingo. The next day, the Slewfoot Family Band arrived with music.

On the third day, the assisted living facility held an open-class arts and crafts exhibit with ribbons for all. Many of the residents had once entered their handiwork in the county fair, and their family members brought in their woodwork, quilts, paintings, embroidery and clothing. Staff members filed through the exhibit, blown away by the craftsmanship.

"The staff didn't even know how talented they are," Anderson said.

Staff members picked what they considered the best entries, and awarded grand prizes to Frances Beck for the quilt featuring state birds and flowers that she stitched when there were only 48 states, and to Gordon Schmidt for his hand-crafted wooden toys.

To top it off, there was fair food: cotton candy, mini-corn dogs, pickles on a stick and mini-donuts. The one big thing missing were the animals, but since the Erickson Petting Zoo had stopped by earlier this year, they figured that counted, Anderson said.

Most, if not all of the home's 32 residents participated in what they called the "mock fair," and about half brought an exhibit, said administrator Maggie Horning.

"I thought it went great," she said. "It was good to see all of the crafts and the paintings and all of their handiwork that they've done over the years. ... We tried to think of as much fair-related stuff as we could."