Ingenuity and artistry have been on full display at the Cherokee County Fair, as students and adults from across the area entered hundreds of projects in the indoor exhibit competition.

inside one of the Cherokee County Fairground's buildings, tables filled with art, science, horticulture, cooking projects and more were set up this week and will be on display through Saturday. The number of categories a student could enter in indoor projects are far from few. For example, students submitted woodworking projects, such as bird houses, chairs, and a checker board made from a tree trunk.

Madison Toyer, of Woodall, created a bird house specifically for smaller birds, like cardinals, bluejays, and woodpeckers.

"I will put it in out yard next to the edge of the woods," Troyer wrote on her project. "It will hang about 5 to 6 feet off of the ground."

Many students were shooting for blue ribbons when they entered projects in the fair. First-year 4-H student Maci Brannon won two blues with a painting and a leather container she made using an art kit.

"It's a portfolio and I can keep my notebooks, take notes and draw and all of that," said Maci. "I draw a lot, so I have that."

She also entered a rag doll and dog sculpture. Her friend, Holly Vick, another first-year 4-H student, entered several projects as well. She won a second-place ribbon for a bank she built to store her change.

"It's a thing that holds your money," Holly said. "I had seen it at Lowe's, and then for my birthday I got a set, so then I made it."

Holly also submitted a painting of an owl after she took an art class with her friends. While her bank did place in the competition, her drawing of Max from "Secret Life of Pets" was her favorite entry.

"We drew it at school and watched a video of how to do it," she said. "So then I came home and drew it with a Sharpie. I got to go see 'The Secret Life of Pets 2' in Muskogee. It's funny."

The fair has entomology projects on display, articles of clothing designed by students, informational posters that detail the different parts of a fish or flower, electronic gizmos, home decor pieces, terrariums and much more.

Ayea Gifford, of Hulbert, created an apron out of old neck ties. In the middle, she stitched a patch that read, "Families that are stitched together with love seldom unravel."

One student completed a study to determine whether men or women had better memories for her project; the evidence suggested women do. There are also baked goods like cinnamon rolls and muffins, and homegrown vegetables and fruit, including an enormous pumpkin that likely needed several hands to bring in.

On the Oklahoma Home and Community Education side of the indoor fair, an open division for adults, entries for arts and crafts projects, baked goods, clothing, crocheted material, floral arrangements and other ideas are flaunted.

Bessie Strickland moved into town this summer, and learned about the county fair from a neighbor at Go Ye Village. She entered a quilt she made with her grandson in mind, as it featured hand-stitched designs of different cars. She also received a blue ribbon for it.

"Boy, I was surprised at that," said Strickland. "I wasn't looking for that; I was just wanting to show it off. I just keep them by my chair. During the evening, I'll pick them up and work a little while on them. It took me I don't know how long to make."

Every contestant who received a blue ribbon in his or her category will see those exhibits travel out of town for the Tulsa State Fair. Projects that receive first through fifth place will be on display for all to see.

"To be honest, Cherokee County is usually really successful," said Heather Winn, family and consumer science educator and interim 4-H director. "Our kids tend to have exhibits that do really well."

Friday, students also competed in the Livestock and FCS Skillathon. Students take a 25-question quiz on their knowledge of various livestock subjects and agriculture. They're also asked to identify cuts of meat, 25 different breeds of livestock, and 25 pieces of equipment related to agriculture. For many of the students, growing up around livestock and agricultural work has helped them out in the Skillathon.

"We work on a farm and I work with my dad," said Maci. "This is what my dad does, so he teaches me and then I have that on the top of my head."

You're invited

The Cherokee County Fair will continue Saturday with swine, sheep, dairy, beef, goat and horse shows.

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