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Ag Expo getting under way

July 22, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY

andrews@herald-mail.com

As Katie Gomez-Kling basked in front of an industrial-sized fan, the air was cool and the prize ribbons were cooler.

The ribbons - four blues for first, one red for second - were her rewards for sewing, preserving, growing fruit, drawing and decorating a cake well.

Washington County Ag Expo judges bestowed the ribbons upon her. The Ag Expo starts today at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike, south of Hagerstown, and ends July 29.

Thursday was a day for turning in handiwork and having experts examine it. Outside, tractors were filing in and people were herding pigs, cows and sheep into their respective barns, preparing for upcoming events.

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In a building marked "multipurpose," 4-H judging got under way after 5 p.m. Young people brought their work to a front desk, then fanned out to the judges' stations for critiques and, possibly, ribbons.

Watchful parents were asked to wait behind.

Katie, 11, who is part of the 4-H group in Ringgold and Smithsburg, said she was nervous.

This was her first year entering the baking division, so she was allowed to use a mix. She said it was a mix that wouldn't aggravate her brother's allergy.

In less than 30 minutes, Katie went from nervous to pleased, basking in front of the fan.

She remembered lines from each judge: The hard work on her drawing showed. The skirt she made in one day was impressive. She needs to practice her cakes, but hers was a good first effort.

"I'm very happy," she declared.

Rachel House, 11, of the Huyetts 4-H club, rolled her wheelchair up to vegetable judge Lori Young.

Young awarded Rachel a red ribbon for her squash, which had blemishes, and a blue ribbon for her corn, which was evenly pollinated.

Afterward, Young peered across the aisle at an arts and crafts table, where her daughter, Danielle, 12, was having her work judged.

It might have looked like an accident when Danielle's handcrafted bank fell apart, but that was by design. Danielle said a mousetrap detonates her "exploding outhouse" bank, causing the sides to drop.

Rachel said she broke her leg while taking a landscape picture for the photography division. She stepped in a groundhog hole..

The Ag Expo runs through Friday, July 29.

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