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Ma Babble Goes to the Fair

July 13, 2008

Clara's gone. "Mortal Prey" by John Sanford.

BnB RibbonYep. It's a blue ribbon. I knew there was a reason that color of blue was my favorite!

Okay, kidding aside (heh), this was the first time I have ever entered any of my quilts into any kind of competition. People who have been the recipients of my quilts have entered them into local competititions (and sent me the ribbons, or at least pictures of the ribbons), but I haven't done it.



It's a totally different world, on the other side of the whole fair/festival experience. Being a city slicker, I've always enjoyed going to fairs and festivals, eating fair food, looking at the handwork, seeing what's new and weird at the vendors' booths. The fair is also the first (and usually only) place that I get up close and personal with critters that may end up on my dinner table someday down the road.

But "working" the fair is a whole different kettle of fish. It's fun. You get to talk to total strangers, and in some cases the total strangers cease to be strangers and start the journey toward friend and acquaintance.

Side trip: Yesterday, while doing handwork on the raffle quilt's binding (please don't tell J that I actually know how to do bindings!), a woman came into my periphery. I looked up at her (preparing to hawk some raffle tickets) and said, "Where do I know you from? You look very familiar!" She responded with, "Yes, you look familiar, too."

I went on to comment that living in such a small town it was expected that we might recognize one another from the shops, but she was visiting from Seattle (NOT a small town). We wandered through a few options of where we may have met before, but no dice. I finally said, "Then maybe we're just meant to be friends in the future!" She agreed, stuck her hand out and said, "I'm Karen." I took her hand, introduced myself, and that was that. She went on, I went back to hand sewing.

Looking back, maybe I should have given her my card or something. I don't know. I'll file it under "Weird stuff that I hope I experience more of" and try to remember Karen's name when we next meet. (Unless, of course, she shows up here and leaves a comment on the blog - now wouldn't that be cool!)

Okay, back to the blue ribbon. I'm thrilled. My Insanity Quilt won a red ribbon, though I expect that it was mainly because the judges were impressed with the audacity of the insanity. It was a Hoot (yes, capital "H") showing up that first day and finding my quilts hung up with ribbons fluttering from them. I immediately thought, "Well, sheesh. I really COULD have entered that shawl that I knitted. And did you see? They have a machine-knitting category! I bet not many people entered that one! Oh, DUH - I raise miniature African violets! I coulda entered some of them!" And, well, you get the picture. I was high on the competition of it all (I keep thinking of the Mrs. Miniver rose).

I was and am very pleased.

But.

I'd like some perspective here, if you all wouldn't mind. Unlike the days of yore - or at least what I think were the days of yore - there really was no competition. Each entry was judged according to some set of standards and it was not compared to anything else. This means that if I dotted all of my T's and crossed all of my I's, I got a blue ribbon, period. Every entry in a category could theoretically get a blue ribbon.

Unlike the Mrs. Miniver that broke Lady Beldon's long-standing winning streak, under today's guidelines, everyone's a winner.

I'd heard this a few years ago when one of my students said offhandedly, "Yeah, I won a couple of blue ribbons at the county fair." I was shocked that she was so blasé about it. She went on to explain that everyone who enters gets some sort of ribbon, and the prize for a blue ribbon was something like five bucks (dollars).

(This is where I just went off on the "Kids These Days" tangent... and I'll spare you. For now.)

So back to it. I'm happy that I have ribbons. Does the fact that everybody could've gone home with a blue ribbon diminish my accomplishment? Am I making much ado over nothing? And really, was it even an accomplishment at all - other than just showing up?

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permalink 5 Comments:
At 7/13/2008 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Babbled Back:  

Everyone who accomplishes something is a winner, whether as a team or individually. The media presents competition as the only game in town. There is something called cooperative effort and is practiced by many cultures. Your ribbon celebrates your achievement, not triumph over someone else's effort.

At 7/13/2008 3:34 PM, Anonymous finisher Babbled Back:  

Congratulations! I bet it was a thrill to walk in and see your quilts with ribbons on them. I don't care what the Fair's standards are..your quilts deserved ribbons no matter where they were shown! I mean..who could resist that quilting in the New York Beauty..and those little pieces in the insanity quilt? A-one!

At 7/13/2008 7:34 PM, Blogger Bobbie Bentneedle Babbled Back:  

T - the NYB is a glorious example of "hyper-quilting" that I believe could have whipped Mrs Miniver AND Lady Beldon, hands down. If the OST challenge had required quilting, my entry would not have even been allowed. Good on ya!

At 7/14/2008 10:37 AM, Blogger Kathy Wagner Babbled Back:  

Congratulations you blue ribbon winner! That is so exciting to be acknowledged for your efforts!

At 7/23/2008 10:58 AM, Blogger Exuberant Color Babbled Back:  

Well in 4-H everyone got a ribbon based on the quality of the entry. Then when you went to state you competed against everyone else.

At our county fair there are only 2 or 3 ribbons per catagory. Everyone else goes home without a ribbon.

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