Extension Office set to host Cultural Arts Exhibit Day

Published 11:49 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

Handmade cultural arts are being put on display next week in Warren County with a trip to the state fair on the line.

The Warren County Extension Office will host the Cultural Arts Exhibit Day in the main conference room at 1100-C Grove St. Thursday, Sept. 22. Registration of entries will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. The exhibit area will be closed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for judging and will open to the public from 1 to 2 p.m.

There are 16 different classes of items that can be entered into the exhibit day including crochet, needlepoint, hand embroidery, knitting, woodworking, handmade baskets, wall hangings, Christmas decorations, gold wire-wrapped jewelry and gourds to name a few. A person can only enter one item for each class.

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“It’s really pretty much anything you can make with your hands. That could be different kinds of artwork. It could be sewing, clothing construction. It actually could be horticulture items,” extension agent Anna McCain said.

The Warren County Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers sponsor exhibit day by helping the extension office organize and promote the event.

“They’ll be here on that day to help people sort their items and find out which class or division they belong,” McCain said.

There is a sewing category with men’s, women’s, children and household item divisions, but those entries are not eligible for the state fair.

Blue ribbon winners from the other classes will go to the 2016 Mississippi State Fair in Jackson from Oct. 5 through 16.

Charlotte Koestler, office associate, said the state fair would only accept winners from each county’s exhibit day and no other entries. McCain sees it as a way for residents to represent Warren County to the state.

“I think it’s a great way for Vicksburg and Warren County to show off all of their skills and all of the talented people that we have in our community,” McCain said.

Qualified members of the community judge the entries and award the ribbons.

“We have different people in the community who do the judging. Different experts from different areas,” McCain said.

If submitted items are determined to be store-bought instead of handmade, the exhibitor will be disqualified and not eligible to re-enter for two years. All items are required to have been made within the past year in order to assure fairness.

“It’s just a general rule to insure that items that are entered haven’t been entered in previous years and it just keeps things fair for our participants,” McCain said.

She said her favorite part about the exhibit day is the cultural preservation of items and activities largely of days past, and the celebration of the hard work put in to creating these pieces.

The best way to preserve these practices, she said, is to continue to create and to show young people these time-honored traditions.

“I think one of the greatest things about this cultural exhibit day is that through our exhibits we’re really preserving a lot of historical traditions that we’ve had for so long like sewing, quilting and gardening. To continue that tradition, we need to be creating new things,” McCain said.