Just like baseball, hotdogs, watermelon and lemonade are staples of the summer season, so too is the Shippensburg Community Fair, at least in these parts, anyway! Pauline Bender’s embroidery has also been a staple to the fair’s Home Products competitions for more than 20 years.
The 62nd annual summer extravaganza begins this Sunday with the Shippensburg Band performance and traditional Vespers Service, followed by a week of fun and excitement for people of all ages.
Children, youth and adults look forward to the fair each year because it gives them a chance to showcase their talents in a variety of areas, including arts & crafts, gardening and baking. For some, creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind works of art for exhibition at the fair is second nature.
Bender learned to embroider when she was a teenager and has used this talent to create countless handmade works of art over the years. Dresser scarves, hand-stitched pillowcases, blankets, dish towels and other homemade articles, many of which she has given to her family as keepsakes over the years, or donated to her church for different events. She has also given a lot of her hand-stitched pieces as gifts to friends and family over the years. “I learned to embroider when I was probably 15 or 16, and have been doing it ever since. It’s relaxing to me, and I can do it at my own pace,” Bender said. “I enjoy doing all kinds of embroidery on a variety of different articles of fabric, such as pillowcases and dish towels. A lot of people refer to this kind of work as ‘old school,’ but I enjoy it, whatever it’s called nowadays,” she laughed.
Bender’s family and friends aren’t the only people who have an opportunity to see the beautiful works she creates. The entire Shippensburg community has a chance to see her work up close and personal when they visit the fair each July, because Bender has submitted her articles for entry at the fair for more than 20 years, and has numerous blue ribbons to her credit!
“I really don’t do it to win ribbons or anything, but it’s nice when I do earn a ribbon for my work,” she said.
There are a lot of people who know Bender, and recognize her as one of the many volunteers who help at the fair each year. She is one of the smiling faces that greet visitors who enter their canned goods at the fair, something she’s done since she retired in 1993.
“I enjoy seeing all the people each year, and seeing what new creations folks bring to the fair.” She said canned goods have always been a popular item, and she likes to see the younger generation bring in their items to be judged. “We get a great variety of canned goods, especially fruits and vegetables from both youth and adults. It’s surprising to see that canning and preserving are making a comeback, but I’m glad to see. It’s nice to see the younger generation continue what we old folks have done for years,” she laughed.
Bender is 92, and says as long as she is able to get around, she’ll continue to do her handy work, and volunteer at the fair. In addition to helping enter items in the Home Products Division, Bender also volunteers as a building sitter throughout the day during fair week. “Some people ask if I get bored just sitting there all day, and I tell them, ‘Heck no, it’s never boring!’ I like to chat with everyone who comes through the buildings - some folks I know, others I don’t, but that doesn’t matter…it’s interesting to just sit and people watch!”
For a complete fair schedule, visit: www.shippensburgfair.com.