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home : news : news Wednesday, July 9, 2014

7/24/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Special bond. Autumn Sedgwick, 12, of Calamus, shares a tender moment with her 5-year-old horse, Cinammon, Thursday, July 18, at the Clinton County Fair. Sedgwick and her family rescued the horse a year-and-a-half ago and continue to rehabilitate her. Photo by Taylor Soule
Teamwork. Sisters Kate and Jessica Haring built a barn quilt from Iowa license plates for the 2013 Clinton County Fair. The project required 130 license plates, 520 nails and nearly one year to complete. Photo by Taylor Soule
Unusual projects enrich fair experience

By Taylor Soule
Summer intern

From rehabilitating animals to advocating for Operation Christmas Child to building a license-plate barn quilt, unusual projects enriched the 2013 Clinton County Fair.

Nudging Autumn Sedgwick with her wet snout, 5-year-old Cinnamon pranced in a circle at the Clinton County Fair Thursday, July 18.

"Cinnamon, calm down," Sedgwick, 12, ordered, the bridle twisting in her grip as her beloved horse squirmed defiantly. "She likes to wiggle."

Though Cinnamon tests her patience, Sedgwick of Calamus said she's a polite (albeit jumpy) horse.

A year-and-a-half ago, however, Cinnamon lacked the energy to walk - let alone prance or jump. Starved by her former owners, Cinnamon's ribs, hipbones and backbones protruded from her orange-and-white coat.

Sedgwick and her parents saved and rehabilitated Cinnamon, reviving her natural vigor and spunk.

As Sedgwick stroked a fidgeting Cinnamon, they locked eyes. Cinnamon halted her signature combination of prancing and nudging, waiting for Sedgwick to relay the tale they both love.

"I got her by surprise," Sedgwick said as Cinnamon slurped water.

Sedgwick walked into the family barn one day to complete her chores, when a new addition - a bony, orange-and-white horse - caught her eye.

"Mom, did you get a new horse for yourself?" Sedgwick asked her mother, Tammy.

"No, she's yours," Tammy said.

Since the Sedgwicks saved Cinnamon, she steadily has gained weight, strength and energy. Whatever place she takes at the Clinton County Fair, the Sedgwicks are proud of her dramatic transformation.

"She is an absolute joy," Tammy said as Cinnamon paced, eager to return to her barn, an oasis of adored, healthy horses.

Marci Nielsen's educational presentation advocated for Operation Christmas Child, an organization devoted to holiday joy. The organization sends pre-packaged Christmas gifts complete with toys, basic toiletry items and God's word to children around the world.

The Central High School senior delivered her presentation to her Clinton County Fair audience with one goal in mind: compelling others to pack, wrap and send their own holiday gifts through Operation Christmas Child.

"Now, hopefully, they know more about it and are willing to try it," Nielsen said.

As the 2013 Clinton County Fair neared, Jessica and Kate Haring set out to try a new trade. The Harings turned to Pinterest, a social-networking site, for inspiration.

While scrolling through Pinterest's signature décor ideas, a photo captivated the sisters: a barn quilt made entirely of Michigan license plates stacked like an American flag.

The Harings' initial captivation with the project led them to research Iowa license plates online. One fact caught the sisters' interest - and alarm - immediately: Iowa only printed red license plates in 1966.

With the help of Craigslist, Ebay and the watchful eye of friends and family, Kate, 17, and Jessica, 18, stockpiled all 130 plates, including the rare red plates.

At last, the sisters pounded 520 nails, four per plate, into their own American flag.

With the flag on its way to the Iowa State Fair, a single compliment resounds wherever the Harings display their masterpiece.

"A lot of people say, 'I want one of those,'" Kate said.

One license plate display is enough for the Harings for now, but they might tackle another in the future.

"I suppose we could, now that we have some inspiration," Jessica said, glancing at Kate with a gleam in her eye.

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