Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County Fair's best in show: creativity

BROOKSVILLE — A stroll through the home and horticulture entries at this year's Hernando County Fair proves there is a plethora of nimble fingers and green thumbs among the local populace.

Handcrafted baskets and needlework, drawings and paintings, tenderly grown specialty plants and artfully composed gardens in pots attest to a number of leisure activities for youth and senior citizens.

Consider 9-year-old Kristina Nelson of Spring Hill, who earned the youth Best in Show in basketry, her first fair endeavor. She learned the craft in the MicroSociety program at Chocachatti Elementary School, under the tutelage of classroom teacher Marsha Eicholtz, visiting specialist Jill Stenholm and Frances Doulk of the Hernando Weavers Association.

Kristina's winner is a "pocket basket," resembling a medium-size handbag, woven of thin, inch-wide natural wooden strips.

"I was just looking through patterns, and I thought that looked really nice," she said.

Baskets outnumbered other category entries in the home arts and crafts show.

In contrast to Kristina, Ronald Parks of the Weeki Wachee Senior Citizens Club, who won the Best in Show adult entry, is 63. His pine needle round-based table basket features inlays of thread-thin black wire wheels and stone or shell slices — he's not sure which — he purchased at a rock and gem show.

"If you see something you like, you just buy them," Parks said, not knowing at the time how he would include them in a basket.

While basket entries outnumbered quilts this year, Mary B. Davis, an exhibit hall information volunteer, said quilts are still a popular category at the fair.

Davis counted more than a dozen quilts, seven of them that she rounded up for entry from members of the Weeki Wachee Senior Citizens Club, where she quilts every Wednesday.

Many of the mostly elderly quilters aren't keen to make the trip to deliver their quilts for competition, so Davis, 71, does the chore for them. And one of them, a lavishly embroidered wall-hanging quilt by Kathleen Beachman, 70, earned Best in Show.

On hearing of the prize, Beachman said, "I'm breathless."

She said she learned to embroider as a child; then her mother-in-law taught her quilting. Beachman's quilt, titled "Mother's Love," is stitched around doilies imprinted with sayings about mothers and decorated with embroidered flowers.

Elsewhere, the Best in Show horticultural prize for adults was accorded to a rabbit foot fern, a broad and deeply hanging heroic plant that would defy the bounds of a bushel basket, 20 years in the growing.

Entrant Sharon Hughes of Brooksville said she almost lost it last winter, adding, "I have a good husband who puts (her perennial plants) in the workshop for me."

The fern was saved from the cold, but suffered from the lack of sunlight inside, Hughes said. She nursed it back to vibrant health, however, and the fair judges took note that considerable attention and tenderness had helped it grow to competition readiness.

In youth horticultural entries, 14-year-old Dana Klimas of Brooksville earned Best in Show with his cactus dish garden containing six varieties of cacti and succulents. He also earned prizes for his home-raised rabbits and showed goats for a fellow 4-H member who needed assistance.

Horticultural entries are on display in the commercial exhibit building, home arts and crafts in the auditorium building, through the end of the fair on Saturday.

Beth Gray can be contacted at

If you go

Events run until Saturday

The 59th annual Hernando County Fair & Youth Livestock Show continues through Saturday at the fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. Hours are from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. today and from 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for children ages 4 to 12, and free for kids younger than 4. Carnival rides and games extra. Parking is $2 per carload. For information, visit or call (352) 796-4552.

Hernando County Fair's best in show: creativity 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  4. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington


    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.
  5. Former Marine from Florida dies fighting for Kurdish militia

    ORLANDO — A former Marine who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.

    David Taylor, with his father David Taylor Sr., was killed earlier this month in Syria while fighting for a Kurdish militia.