By Janie Southard
WAPAKONETA -- Cora Kettler is a fair-goin' gal who takes on a dozen or more county and state fairs every year including the Auglaize County Fair.
As an Auglaize County fair board member, Kettler and her husband, Louie, travel every year with a group of other fair board members from Ohio's 88 counties to visit different state, regional and county fairs throughout the country. This year it will be Texas and Oklahoma.
"I pick up a lot of ideas to bring home to our fair, plus it's just a lot of fun," she says from her Wapakoneta home, which is just a few blocks from the fairgrounds.
But first, Kettler will reign at this year's Auglaize County fair as fine arts show director, a post she's held for nearly 20 years. She's seen a lot of changes over the years, but with many categories it's just that everything old is new again.
"Photography has become really, really popular. This year I have 225 8-by-10 entries in the adult and student classes. There are about 130 lines (portrait, nature, action, night, etc.) in the categories (black/white and color) for the amateur and student classes," Kettler says. "I think the ease of using a digital camera has a lot to do with the increased interest. Sewing, too, has an increase of entries for this year's fair, but the biggest category in the creative arts department this year, as always, is antiques, the only category where the entry is purchased and not hand made.
"We have 174 categories, one of which is 'any other item not mentioned,' so you can tell anything goes. Probably the biggest categories are toys and glassware," she says.
Kettler, who is retired from the Auglaize County Treasurer's office, is proud of the fact that, in 20 years, only one antique item was broken -- a cup handle.
"My department is very secure with good glass cases, and I hire teachers to come in to provide security all day long. Plus, there's only one entrance. So far we've had no problems except for that one cup handle and that was an accident," she says, shifting through a raft of papers on her coffee table that pertain to the homemaker's events on Wednesday in the entertainment tent.
She has belonged to a homemaker's club for years and has served as a state office holder. She's also active in her church and many community organizations.
"Homemakers are going to have several shows Wednesday afternoon. One of them is cooking crock-pot desserts and everyone attending will get a cookbook. I think I'll make Triple Chocolate Mess. It's really good and really easy," she says, whipping out an orange-covered booklet called "Simply Delicious Desserts."
On hand to help her wear her various fair hats will be her husband, her daughter, Jenny Henderson, and son Tom, who lives in Hamilton.
"Since I'm on the fair board, my whole family's on the fair board," she says. "When people ask when I'll resign from the board, I tell them I'll stop when it gets to be a chore. But for right now, it's still a whole lot of fun."