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Cape second grader among Best of Show winners

By Staff | Mar 27, 2015

Contributed Photo Shayna Symonds with her recycled art cuff bracelet, made from some leather of softballs. It was the Best of Show winner for Recycled Art at the 2015 Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair Creative Living Booth, coordinated by the members of the Fort Myers Inner Wheel Club as a community service project.

What started off as a Pinterest idea, turned into the Best of Show for one second grade student at Gulf Elementary School during the 2015 Southwest Florida Lee County Fair.

Shayna Symonds won the ribbon for her baseball cuff bracelet for recycled art.

“I’m extremely proud,” said Daniel Symonds, Shayna’s father.

Daniel said they went to the fair with Shayna’s aunt to see the different displays and had a hard time tracking down the bracelet.

“Her aunt said, ‘Look it’s right here and it’s got Best of Show,'” Daniel said. “It surprised us all.”

Since her parents coach T-ball they had lots of extra baseballs laying around for her new project.

“We made a bracelet out of the baseball,” the 7-year old said.

Shayna cut the leather from the ball and sewed yarn into it to create the bracelet. She also included jewels and buttons for decoration.

“I made three of them,” Shayna said, adding that she used different colored jewels and colored string for each.

Daniel said after his daughter could not enter her rabbit at the fair for 4H, they decided to enter the bracelet.

“She is crafty and always making stuff,” he said. “It turned out nice, so we thought we would enter it into the fair.”

The Best of Show award earned Shayna a big ribbon and $10, which she said she is saving.

“I look forward to doing something next year,” she said.

Ellen Erickson, who is with the Inner Wheel Club, said they put on the Creative Living Display for the fair. She said the club has 22 members who spend 18 days each year working on the project.

“This is our third year doing it,” Erickson said. “It’s a great community project and attracts almost 1,000 entries and is seen by hundreds of fair-goers.”

There are six different departments that junior youths ages 6 to 13, senior youth ages 14 to 17, adults ages 18 to 64 and seniors 65 years and older can submit their art into during the fair. Those departments include thread craft, crafts, canned and culinary, recycle art, art and photography and horticulture.

Erickson said under each department there are separate divisions one can enter. For example under thread craft there are such divisions as crochet, cross stitch, embroidery, knitting and quilting.

The members of the Inner Wheel Club accept the entries, prepare them for viewing for the judges, do data processing and attach the proper ribbons to the entries. In addition, the members build the displays and spend countless hours at the fair answering questions and greeting members of the public who stop by the display.

“The last day we return every single item to the correct person, with their ribbons and fair premiums,” Erickson said.

North Fort Myers resident Peter Landon won the Best of Show in fine arts for his bald eagle depiction.

“It’s a pen and ink drawing,” Landon said of the bald eagle.

He created the picture at Grace Community Center during three art classes, which he attends weekly for three hours.

“The class does all kinds of things – oil, water color, acrylics, pastels – I kind of do my own thing with pen and ink and colored pencil,” Landon said.

He said his entire class submitted its artwork for the fair this year.

“My wife and I submitted six paintings and drawings,” Landon said. “Our whole class exhibited close to 40 paintings and drawings.”

He said he was thrilled when he found out that his bald eagle claimed the Best in Show.

“When I went to pick up the painting on Sunday, I had a People’s Choice (award) also for the eagle,” he said.

A craft that began three years ago to keep one Lehigh Acres resident awake at the end of the day while watching television earned her a Best of Show award.

“Oh heck, yeah,” Elizabeth Nelson said when asked if she was surprised to take the Best of Show award.

She said the only reason she bought the pattern of the Indian woman with a dove was because her husband has some Indian background.

The 177,000 stitches took her 13,464 hours to complete over three years, due to her only working on it for a couple hours at a time. The cross stitch is 14×18.

When Nelson began working on the cross stitch she transferred each colored symbol to much larger squares by number to make it an easier task.

“It was very relaxing,” she said.

Since the cross stitch had great reviews from the fair in Lake Placid, her husband encouraged her to enter it into the Lee County Fair.

Other Cape Coral Best of Show winners include Jennifer Capobianco for her white reaper in the fine arts category and Mitzi Schardt for her basket palm lawn waste in the recycled art category.

The other North Fort Myers Best of Show winners include Anya Cheffer for her paper mache peacock in the crafts category; Susan Hedge for her hand woven jacket for the weaving category; Nancy Smith for her necklace in the jewelry category and Lorene Raynor for her handmade tufa turtle planter for the horticulture category.

Other Lehigh Acres Best of Show winners include Juan Cabrera for butterfly photography and Betty Gould for her white and black quilt.