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DECORATION DAY BUSINESSES DISPLAY PRIDE FOR FAIR CONTEST.

Byline: Peggy Hager Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Getting into the Antelope Valley Fair spirit, High Desert Medical Group and The Farmer's Wife flower shop tied for the Judges Award for the fair's Business Dress and Decorate Contest.

Behind the rows of medical files in the High Desert Medical Group's records room, the 19 employees decorated their cubicles to reflect past fair themes.

``They gave us a choice of picking any theme from 1955 on, but we decided to have each person pick their own theme, so we were able to cover all decades of the entire fair,'' said records supervisor Kathy Paris.

Records clerk Terry Gallagher chose 1994's theme of ``Cowboy Boots and Country Roots,'' decorating his cubicle with his own ink drawings of cowboys and farm scenes. His cubicle included ribbons which Paris had won during her years as a Farmerette.

``That Reserve Grand Champion paid for my first year of college,'' said Paris, pointing to a large blue ribbon.

Other desks portrayed 1970's ``Soaring Into the '70s'' with colored beads and tie-dyed fabric; 1966's ``Where the Action Is,'' with a monster truck climbing a burlap mountain; and 1989's ``Through a Child's Eyes,'' with a toy carousel.

``We certainly had a lot of fun doing it, great teamwork, and (it's a) good morale booster too,'' said Paris. ``We've actually decorated every year since I started working here four years ago, and it's a lot of fun, and it gets us all involved. This is a high-paced department ... and it's stressful and it's a good stress reliever. It's fun, and it's good for the community.''

This is the third Judges Choice award for High Desert Medical Group's records employees, having won previously in 1999 and 2000.

In Quartz Hill, The Farmer's Wife owner Dana Ritter, a fourth-generation valley resident, decorated her shop with fair memorabilia collected by her mother-in-law, Paula Ritter, including photos, yellowed newspaper clippings and ribbons.

``My kids are fifth-generation, so of course there's a lot of stuff we've been involved in,'' said Ritter.

A carousel made of metal tubes and disposable bread pans sits in the front window, while a child-size mannequin of an old farmer in a cowboy hat sleeps on a ride-on tractor toy.

Jalapenos, tomatoes and bell peppers from an employee's garden sit in tin pans on a hay bale, each tin accompanied by a prize-winning ribbon.

This was the first win for the flower shop, which has been in business for three years.

``We worked hard getting the stuff together ... it's been fun,'' said Ritter. ``I think it's good for the fair. People who haven't lived here for a long time come in and say, Oh, what are you doing?' and when we tell them, then they're, Oh, that's great... so that's perfect for the fair, the recognition.''

Decorating awards also went to Antelope Valley Bank, for medium-sized businesses, and Mayflower Gardens, for large businesses.

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3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 2 -- color) Dana Ritter, above, shows off the display in her store, The Farmers Wife florist shop. The display, left, was a co-winner of the Judges Award at the Antelope Valley Fair Business Dress and Decorate Contest.

(3) Dana Ritter, co-winner of the Judges Award at the Antelope Valley Fair's Business Dress and Decorate Contest, shows off the centerpiece of her display, a John Deere lawn tractor.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 21, 2002
Words:558
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