By RENEE FITE
Sponsors of a flea market, bazaar and tea room fundraiser hope it gains not only funding, but new members.
Visitors to the Oklahoma Home and Community Education event Saturday at the Cherokee County Community Building found both a variety of goods for sale at vendor booths, as well as members eager to register them in the club.
Since she retired, Ann Lamons has enjoyed her membership and volunteering with events like the quilt show, which was not held this year.
“We’re recruiting new members. It takes a lot of help to put on a quilt show; it’s a lot of work,” Lamons said. “We do have the Crayola Quilt someone will win in a drawing at the end of the day.”
OHCE is a county club focusing on family, personal and professional education and making a difference in the community. It is a multi-generational organization of women who share a passion for community service and the common values of learning and improving everything, from cooking and sewing to leadership, financial management, cultural enrichment and mentorship through lifelong learning.
Since its beginning in 1912 with members in 11 counties developing their skills in the basics - gardening, food preservation, clothing, home improvements and sanitation, OHCE has grown to memberships statewide.
Lamons, chairwoman of the event, believes it’s a fun way to raise money for community projects they support, including Hope House, Help-In-Crisis, the women’s shelter, and the Oklahoma School for the Blind.
“We’ll make a lot more money with a lot less work having a flea market,” Lamons said.
OSU County Extension educator Heather Winn enjoyed the new concept.
“The quilt show was more educational, but we can fund more projects with this event,’ Winn said. “The squares that make up the Crayola Quilt were each colored with crayons by members and guests at a ‘how-to’ workshop.”
Lamons looked over the quilt with member Sharon Parnell and Parnell’s daughter Bethany Wheeler. The women searched for the quilt squares they designed and the handiwork that joined them into a finished piece.
“We should have put our name in the corner, Lamons said. “Look at the beautiful job Ruth [Kennedy] did quilting it. She put extra borders around each block with different colors. She must have changed her bobbin 100 times. She even embellished it with an embroidery stitch.”
Wheeler had a booth with her mom and sisters.
“I’m enjoying getting to see people from the community, help someone else and help myself. I live out in the country and it’s hard to have a yard sale,” Wheeler said.
Parnell joined OHCE because she was looking for a way to serve in the community with other women.
“This is a fairly easy fundraiser, you don’t have to do as much,” Parnell said. “And there’s a wide variety of items “
Candy Howell was searching out railroad memorabilia, and smiled as she held up an engineer’s signal lantern.
“Railroad memorabilia is hard to find,” Howell said.
She also buys western stuff, but this time she bought a handmade flat reed basket and a bottle of Coca-Cola from the Ukraine.
Strawberry-themed items were among Wista Waldroop’s booth items.
“I’ve had yard sales, but I saw this in the paper and like that’s it’s one day,” she said. “I work and this is all I can do.”
In a nearby booth, Theresa McLain arranged western-themed collectibles.
“It’s hard to have a garage sale in this weather, but in here, this is better,” McLain said.
Longtime OHCE member Fran Ridenhour and daughter Ashlea Cochran had two vendor booths together.
“It lets me get rid of my baby and children’s clothes and look for summer clothes for next year and clothes for winter,” she said.
A large, stuffed horse dominated a table, with other toys, clothing and household and decorative items.
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