DECATUR — Anunciata Burns' first Illinois State Fair was both overwhelming and exciting.
The Hope Academy seventh-grader, president of her 4-H Club at Old King's Orchard Community Center, was an alternate for the state fair in sewing for her pillowcase, which was awarded a blue ribbon in the 2018 Macon-Piatt 4-H Show on July 17-18.
One of the things the family enjoyed most, said Anunciata's mother, Krystal Johnson, was looking at all the things other people had made and entered into the fair. They even invented their own game, a scavenger hunt to see how many 4-H pins they could spot as they walked around the fairgrounds Aug. 11 in Springfield.
“It was amazing,” Johnson said. “She'd never been in that kind of environment before, and it was a good learning experience for her.”
Anunicata chose to make a pillowcase because she knew she could do a good job on it, and used material on hand at Old King's Orchard.
“I chose a really girly pattern (of cloth),” said Anunciata, 12, with a grin.
She made two of them as a 4-H project, one to keep and to show at the fairs, and one to donate to a nursing home for a resident. She doesn't know who received hers, but she said she hopes it brings a cheerful note to the room. Her club has visited some nursing homes as part of its community service efforts.
“Some people never get visitors,” she said. “It makes me happy to give them a smile.”
Johnson said her three kids are involved in a number of activities, which, of course, requires rides from Mom.
“She's in LEGO League, she came in second in the spelling bee, she plays basketball, baseball, volleyball,” Johnson said, adding with a laugh, “You'd think the gas station would donate me a gas card.”
“My mom likes to keep us busy,” Anunciata said.
Johnson's mother makes quilts, and since Anunciata was only 5 or 6, she's been fascinated with sewing. She watches and helps as her grandmother works, and at home, where she doesn't have her own sewing machine, she makes things by hand.
“She's been doing it for a long time,” Johnson said. “She really wants (a machine), and my mom said she's going to try to get one for her, but she hasn't got one yet. Right now, we make pillows and things like that at home.”
She's also fond of baking, and her favorite thing to bake is cupcakes, so she has considered pastry chef as a career option, along with singer and basketball player.
“I can be anything I want,” she said.