Embroidered dish towels earn woman fourth top fair prize

Aug 15 2010 - 11:38pm

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(MICHAEL FRIBERG/Standard-Examiner) Plain City resident Florene Park, 79, displays her award-winning dish towels that got her Best in Show at the Weber County Fair on Saturday.
(MICHAEL FRIBERG/Standard-Examiner) Plain City resident Florene Park, 79, displays her award-winning dish towels that got her Best in Show at the Weber County Fair on Saturday.
(MICHAEL FRIBERG/Standard-Examiner) Plain City resident Florene Park, 79, displays her award-winning dish towels that got her Best in Show at the Weber County Fair on Saturday.
(MICHAEL FRIBERG/Standard-Examiner) Plain City resident Florene Park, 79, displays her award-winning dish towels that got her Best in Show at the Weber County Fair on Saturday.

PLAIN CITY -- If you attended the Weber County Fair this year, you probably saw some of Florene Parke's dish towels.

The 79-year-old Plain City woman has been entering her homemade items into competition at the fair since it began more than two decades ago.

This year, Parke won Best of Show for her dish towels embroidered with roosters.

It's not the first time she has won. Her homemade raspberry jam and potted plants also have won her the Best in Show recognition.

All in all, she has walked away with four of the awards and several blue ribbons.

"I don't ever plan on winning. It's all for fun," she said. "I really like the fair, and I think we should all support it."

Parke began sewing when she was a youngster in her primary class at church. She continued sewing off and on, then picked it up again after she retired from the Weber School District.

Her mother taught her how to make jam.

"She did a lot of canning when I was growing up," Parke said. "Now I raise my own raspberries and make jam for my family. I give a lot of it away, too."

Shelley Branz, one of Parke's eight children, said her mother is an amazing woman.

"She has more energy than I do. She's always going, always working in her yard, always doing something active. She's amazing."

Branz said her mother's raspberry jam isn't just Best in Show at the fair, it's Best in Show with the family.

"I remember one time I made my son some toast. He was about 5 at the time. We didn't have any of mom's jam, so I ran to the store and got some," she said.

"My son immediately knew the difference. He called my mom and ratted me out, and she brought him over some jam."

Parke was born and raised in Wilson, which is now West Haven. She and her husband, Boyd, have eight children, 20 grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren, with another due in December. The Parkes also have a cat named Kit.

Parke has played the organ at her church for more than 20 years and enjoys photography.

Parke plans to continue entering items in the fair as long as she can, and she hopes others will do the same.

"I love children and animals," Parke said. "I also love the fair. There's something there for everyone. There's always a nice crowd.

"It's like a reunion, because you always see people you haven't seen for a long time."

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