Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Mary Katherine DeWane (White Station High School)
Youth Enter Their Handiwork in the Delta Fair
When most people think of the Delta Fair, they picture rides, music and fried food. However, for many people, the Delta Fair represents a fun and competitive opportunity to show off their baking prowess or their craft skills.
Anna Holt, 15, is one of those people. She has been entering items into the Crafts, Culinary and Collectibles contest for the past six years, along with her mother and two sisters. Her favorite part of the fair is seeing other people’s work. “Everything is original,” she said. “I love the different ideas that come in.” Holt enters the leathercraft and culinary divisions, while her mother and sisters enter canning, artwork and sewing, among others. Holt described the week leading up to the fair as a sort of ‘crunch-time’, with everyone cramming to make their entries. “When you shove five people in the kitchen, it can get hectic,” she laughs. Holt really appreciates the opportunities presented to her at the Delta Fair, stating, “The people who run the fair do an amazing job.”
Jan Hamilton, director of Crafts, Culinary and Collectibles at the Delta Fair, certainly has her work cut out when organizing the events. The Delta Fair began in 2007, when the owner, Mark Lovell, saw the need and opportunity for a community fair. Hamilton was hired in 2008 to be the director of the Crafts, Culinary and Collectibles contests. Since Hamilton has been working at the Delta Fair, the number of entries has grown from zero in 2007 to 6,941 in 2014 with one of Hamilton’s main objectives being to increase the number of youth entries.
The fair has youth contests in art, photography, crafts, culinary, and gardening. “We offer cash money for prizes,” Hamilton said. In addition, the fair is expanding its reach to youth. “Now, we have educational expos where students can come on school trips to the fair,” stated Hamilton. There will be a Homeschool Day on Sept. 11, 2015, where homeschoolers can get discounted admissions and wristbands. If teens are interested in entering some of their creations in the fair next year, Hamilton says that they can look online for the Delta Fair catalogue starting in April. The 2015 fair will start on Sept. 4 and last until Sept. 13.