⠐I show them and make some money, and they're still mine'

MALONE -- Leslie Osborn has wanted to enter items in the Franklin County Fair's Domestic Arts antiques categories for years, but she always seemed to miss the deadlines.

"That's what they call me: Too Late Leslie,'" she laughed. "I'd end up seeing the premium books and say, Shucks! I had something I could have entered for that.' But I was always late."

This year, the Fort Covington woman, who merrily announces she is almost 79 years old, vowed to keep the promise and get her entries ready.

And she not only put 30 items up for judging, she walked away with a fistful of blue ribbons and $150 in prize money.

"I haven't entered anything in the fair since I was 15 years old. And I wish I would've given myself more time (to prepare entries). I should've left three days. Instead, it was more like a half a day.

"I didn't realize how long it takes to make out the tags," Osborn said with another peal of laughter.

One of the most eye-catching pieces she entered is a carnival glass sugar bowl in the Singing Bird pattern, produced by the Northwood Glass Co. between 1908 and 1915.

"That has been around for as long as I can remember," Osborn said. "It's the only one I have, and I've been seeing it ever since I was a little girl. It belonged to my mother.

"I also put in some silver, some jewelry pieces, toys, china, a quilt and a rifle. Some I've acquired. Some I've collected. I'm a collector of everything -- mostly junk, but it is junk I like."

There must be a lot of people just like her because the number of Domestic Arts antique entries and displays has been growing, said fair volunteer Marie Picaro.

"It seems like it gets bigger every year. People are taking more of an interest in antiques and showing them."

Picaro, who works in four-hour rotating shifts in the Domestic Arts building with her sister, Linda Cooley, and mother, Betty Lindsay, said, "With the antiques, you're finding more people who are interested in the displays, and (the owners) want people to see them."

Judith Karlskent of Malone is one of them.

She says she has been collecting "forever" and has competed at the fair for three years.

"I was asked to judge one year, and I thought, This is a snap! I don't want to judge. I want to enter,'" she said.

And enter she does, placing about 100 items up for prizes this year in several categories.

"I show them and make some money, and they're still mine," Karlskent said. "I do sell stuff off and on. I do have a shop, but I keep what I like."


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