It's Bugged! And You Won't Want to Miss It!

Jul 28, 2016

It's bugged.

Yes, bugged.

And you won't want to miss it.

If you head over to the 69th annual Solano County Fair, 900 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo, between now and Sunday, July 31, you'll see lots of bees, butterflies, lady beetles, dragonflies, ants and other insects in McCormack Hall. They're depicted in photos and drawings, and on display boards, quilts, cakes, muffins, China plate paintings and more.

Gloria Gonzalez, superintendent of McCormack Hall, and her crew assembled the last of the displays earlier this week, just in time for the opening on Wednesday, July 27. The fair is open weekdays until 11 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31, from noon to 11 p.m.

Fairs are educational, informative, and entertaining, and the Solano County Fair, launched in 1949, is no exception. This year's theme is "Play It Again, Solano!"

But, back to the insects. Most of the exhibits in McCormack, of course, do not showcase insects, but many do! And they are amazing!

Have you ever seen a honey bee on a rock? Andrew Donato of Vallejo, has. In fact, he painted a bee on a rock and entered it in the 9-10 age graphic arts category. It's a winner!

Ryan Anenson of the Tremont 4-H Club, Dixon, entered a educational display, "Save the Bees," in the 14-year-old age group.  He asked "What's killing the bees" and went on to explain the causes of death, what happens if our bees disappear, what makes pollinators important, what food can we provide for bees, and how to create a bee garden. Best of show!

Lexi Haddon Mendes of the Vaca Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville, entered a decorated cake, "Flowers and Bees," in her age division, 9-10. She knows bees; she's a beekeeper and her father heads the club's beekeeping project.

Madeline Giron of Benicia entered muffins decorated with colorful ladybugs, aka lady beetles, in her 11-13 age division. Judges said "Yum!" and "Beautiful!" and "Blue Ribbon!"

Joseph Garrett of Fairfield entered several mounted insect specimens--along with a wolf spider (spiders are not insects)--in the science project division, ages 5-8. Is Joseph  an entomologist-to-be?

The work of the adults is also incredible!

  • Laquita Cumings of Rodeo entered a quilt of the most colorful butterflies you've ever seen. Best of show!
  • Kim English of Fairfield entered a "Dresden design" China painting, adorned with flowers, butterflies and a bee.
  • Celia Weller of American Canyon crafted a machine-quilted wall hanging adorned with flowers and an exotic butterfly not found in nature--but found at McCormack Hall.
  • Beverly O'Hara of Benicia appliqued a quilt with ants and called it "Ant-titude." Clever! It features ants enjoying a picnic. What's a picnic without ants?
  • Anita Jessop of Benicia imagined a field of flowers, and quilted a "Sunny Field of Flowers" wall hanging, complete with a hummingbird and dragonflies.
  • Laura Ryan of Benicia entered a fan needlepoint anchored with a delightful blue butterfly. Reminds us of the blue morpho!

Those are just some of the prize-winning exhibits by youth and adults displayed at McCormack Hall. Be sure to check out the other buildings as well for an overall look at what the fair offers. The fair ends on Sunday, July 31 at 11 p.m.

Gloria Gonzalez, a longtime 4-H volunteer, has worked on the McCormack Hall displays for 11 years and has served as the superintendent for three years. She's the community leader of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo, a position she's held for eight years.

The veteran 4-H adult volunteer has served as a project leader in the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club for 18 years. Many of the folks who crew McCormack Hall are also 4-H'ers, including Sharon Payne, a past president of the Solano County 4-H Leaders' Council; and longtime 4-H'ers turned leaders, Angelina Gonzalez and Julianna Payne, all of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club.