By Starrla Cray
WOODLAND TOWNSHIP, MN The average Wright County Fair exhibitor might bring one or two creations for judging, but not energetic Dolores Domjahn of Woodland Township.
She’s 91 years old, but still manages to win dozens of ribbons for her flowers, baked goods, quilts, afghans, embroidery, vegetables, and doilies.
“I started in the early 1960s with canning and a little bit of baking. Each year, it gets worse,” Domjahn laughed.
This year, she entered about 70 projects in the fair.
“She does 98 percent of this herself,” said Domjahn’s daughter, Sharon Schroeder.
“The only 2 percent I do is helping haul everything to the fair,” Schroeder added. “One car is usually not big enough.”
The brightly colored flowers outside Domjahn’s country home on Dempsey Avenue, a few miles from where she grew up, attest to her hard work.
“All I need is a cup of coffee and a sandwich, and I could be out there all day with my flowers and never get tired,” Domjahn said.
In the past, Domjahn tended to 70 rosebushes. Now, she’s cut back to “only” about 30 rosebushes, in addition to several other types of flowers.
“My favorite flower is the rose,” she explained.
This year, Domjahn entered six types of roses in the fair. She also exhibited day lilies, hollyhocks, Shasta daisies, and dahlias, among others.
In addition to showing at the fair, Domjahn also gives many of her flowers to family and friends.
She also enjoys sharing her other talents with her three children, four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
“I’ve given afghans to each one of the kids,” she said.
Afghans are Domjahn’s “winter project.”
In the fall, she starts canning, making homemade apple butter, tomato jam, spaghetti sauce, and a variety of other tasty treats.
Domjahn’s favorite activity, however, is baking. Some of her best recipes come from a cookbook that is 70 years old.
When it gets close to fair time, “the mixer goes day and night,” Schroeder said.
A few of Domjahn’s many mouth-watering baked goods include her Swedish tea ring, gingersnaps, pumpkin bread, and coffee cake.
One year, while Domjahn was loading the car with treats to take to the fair, she left the car door open while she went back to the house to get more entries.
A piece of banana cake was on a plate on the seat of the car.
The family dog grabbed the cake, which was inside a plastic bag, and ran across the yard with it.
“So, we had to throw that one away,” Schroeder said. Now, Domjahn packs everything in totes.
Bringing so many items to show at the fair is well worth the effort, Domjahn said.
“When it’s fair time, it’s fun time,” she said.
Domjahn said she’s made friends with many of the other exhibitors throughout the years. One of the best parts is seeing her entries along with all the others.
“It’s what makes the fair,” Schroeder added.
Domjahn’s interest in exhibiting sparked when her children’s 4-H club started in 1956. She and her late husband, Alfred, were the leaders.
“My children were in 4-H, and that kind of rubbed off on me,” Domjahn said.
Now, she is hooked.
“The kids always tell me I should quit,” she said. “The closer it gets to the fair, though, you cannot let it go.”
She credits God with giving her the ability to stay active.
“As long as I have the energy and I feel good, I keep on going,” she said.
“I’d just advise, if anyone’s interested in showing at the fair, they should start,” she added. “Once you start, you can’t quit.”