When it comes to crafts, you gotta hand it to 'em

Over the past 13 years, participants have collectively entered 1,025 projects.
CANFIELD -- Winning isn't everything, but it sure is sweet, especially for senior citizens participating in the Mahoning County District Board of Health Adult Day Services program.
They have collectively entered more than 100 projects in the arts and crafts competitions at the Canfield Fair this year.
Thirty-one seniors from the program entered projects.
Over the last 13 years, program participants have collectively entered 1,025 projects ranging from needlepoint and sewing to weaving, painting, ceramics, knitting, crocheting and wreath and pillow making.
The first year, program participants entered only 24 projects, recalled Joyce Naymick, activities director for the adult day program. Since then, interest among seniors participating in the program has grown significantly.
Not only are they entering projects in the fair at record numbers, they are also becoming more involved and enthusiastic, Naymick said.
"We start working on projects for the fair the week after the fair, and stock and store pieces," she said. As people age, and are affected by things such as arthritis and macular degeneration, it changes what they are able to do and how quickly they are able to do it, Naymick explained. "So we start thinking fair very early. We think fair all year."
Lots of fun
Completing so many projects is a lot of work, Naymick continued, "But it keeps their minds going, keeps their hands going, keeps their hearts going. I like the socialization. Sometimes there's more talking going on than there is work."
"I love it, everybody's so nice," said Rose Minotti, 86, of Youngstown. She started participating in the program five years ago because she couldn't stand to stay in her apartment all day. So, she said, "I got myself more involved."
This year is the second time Minotti has won first place. Her blue-ribbon entries were a framed embroidered picture of a flower and a decorative pillow.
Helen Capp, 84, of Youngstown, won a blue ribbon for a wreath she made. She also entered a grapevine wreath and a woven dishcloth.
Capp's award-winning entry is going to be a special gift for her caregiver. She said she's tried to keep her plan a secret, but she thinks he already knows.
Both ladies visited the fair Friday with about 20 of their colleagues to see their entries on display.
Marietta Ferrari, 84, of Youngstown, won ribbons in every category she entered. "I just didn't get a blue, I was disappointed," she said. In years past, Ferreri has won first-place ribbons.
She's been entering projects with the senior day program participants the last seven years but was no stranger to Canfield Fair competitions. Ferreri was a charter member of a garden club that was founded in 1953 and said she entered many flower arrangements when she was active with that organization.
Lily Howell, 89, who lives in Canfield but is originally from England, entered five items, including a set of table mats, a wreath, and a doll with a crocheted dress.
She won ribbons with all five. This is only the second year she's been participating.
First place
Mary Chicklo, 87, of Boardman has been entering projects the last four years and wins something "almost every year," she said. This year, a wreath that took her months to complete won first place.
"I look forward to making the stuff with all the wonderful people [in the program]," she said.
Frank Guzman, 77, originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, but now of Youngstown, won three ribbons.
He entered five items, including two wreaths and a painted hat. A pi & ntilde;ata he made was ineligible for the competition because he didn't make it with a child partner.
This was Guzman's second year entering the competition, and he said he plans to give his winning entries to his daughter.
Working on the projects, he said, "keeps me busy all the time and time goes fast."
Entering competitions at the fair gives the senior program participants a reason to keep working on projects, added Kathy Bennett, the fair director who oversees the Arts & amp; Crafts building.
Categories have even been revised over the years to accommodate projects the seniors want to work on, she added.

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