Talent abounded this year in the Placerville Doll Contest sponsored by the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), Branch 275 and the accompanying Ladies Auxiliary (LAFRA), Unit 275 of Placerville.
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The 2012 theme was to use materials found at home or in the yard to fabricate a doll. The doll could be an animal or human resemblance.
Children in the first through fifth grades from Gold Oak Elementary School and Louisiana Schnell School in Placerville and Camino School in Camino transformed old sheets, pillowcases, discarded wood, tin cans, macaroni, feathers, pine cones, yarn and other materials to design a doll.
With 110 entrants, the three judges had a very difficult time narrowing it down to a first, second and third prize for each grade level.
They tended to choose dolls that stood out as being unique or using unconventional materials while still keeping with the theme. For instance, there was only one string doll, one pine cone bumble bee and one bride.
Enrique Castillo was the only one to form a reindeer from flower pots.
Greg Smith was very original with his Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz.”
The judges thought that the snowy owl made by Wyatt Allen was unusual since its wings were constructed differently from the other pine cone owls.
Jocelyn Motayre’s pinecone reindeer fell down when she was gluing it, so she turned it into a seated reindeer, which was novel.
Raven Elkins and Jesse Moreno were the only contestants to utilize a soda can. The judges considered the nine pillowcase dolls to be historic and in keeping with the fifth grade curriculum.
Mrs. Webb’s first graders had a great time being creative with pine cones, concocting owls, pigs, snowmen, a squirrel, penguins, reindeer, turkeys and a variety of other animals or bugs.
Mrs. Garrett’s third graders employed a variety of materials.
One group took a small block of wood and strips of a sheet to produce cattle. Three girls converted red solo plastic cups into Little Red Riding Hood, while others built an adorable snowman from a two-by-four. A fourth group added macaroni arms and legs to a triangle of wood to produce Santa Claus, and others fashioned Austrian prune dolls which are traditionally made at Christmas time.
Bryson Hamon, a fourth grader in Mrs. Gallardo’s class, applied his knowledge of who was sponsoring the contest to his advantage. He took the time to find a picture of a navy uniform so that he could replicate it correctly.
It worked. He captivated the one judge who could not take her eyes off the yarn sailor. She beamed with a full smile and even shot glances at it as she moved on to the fifth grade entries. That judge had served in the U.S. Navy, while her husband had made the navy his career and one of their sons had served 17 years in the navy.
Lois and Eileen Kearney devised a joint entry with a whole diorama of a cornhusk family and pets surrounding an intricately designed pine tree.
Several fourth and fifth graders used a roll of toilet paper as the base for their dolls, which can be utilized at Christmas time to conceal the spare roll in the bathroom.
Cole Young depicted Santa Claus in his leisure hours — fishing.
Caitlyn and Macie Douglas, first graders at Camino School, put forth a tremendous amount of time and effort into their dolls. They drew the shape of the body on paper and then finished the dolls with the sewing machine. The result was impressive.
Sam Garcia, a third grader from Gold Oak School, performed an engineering feat when he designed a doll in the likeness of Brian Wilson, closer for the San Francisco Giants. He carved the face out of a large Styrofoam ball and inverted a cup as the base. The baseball player could turn his head as well as his whole body.
Nickoli Gann, Brianne Hamon and Michael Inks carefully placed actual turkey feathers to constitute replicas of turkeys, much like a taxidermist would.
All entrants received a ribbon and a bag of candy.
The first, second, and third place contestants were given a monetary award of $15, $10 or $5.
The first place winners were: Paolo Herrerea, Enrique Castillo, Austin Vogel, Bryson Hamon and Jessie Moreno.
Earning second place were: Wyatt Allen, Yory Herrera-Martinez, Sam Rodriquez, Emily Standley and Lynnea Galli.
Jocelyn Montayre, Jada Akers, Greg Smith, Kaiya O’Mara and Alex Meader took third place.
During December the dolls were displayed in 23 businesses on Main Street in Placerville: Memory Lane Old Time Candy, Elements Hair Salon, Kiddlywinks, Cary House Hotel, Fountain Plaza Salon, Placerville Flowers on Main, Pampering Pickle, Bookery, River City Bank, Annieberries Kids Clothing, Candy Strike Emporium, Renfros, Cannine on Main, Eureka Gems and Minerals, Violets Are Blue, Bricks, El Dorado Savings Bank, Combellack’s, Robinson’s Pharmacy, Placerville News Company, Powell’s Steamer Company and Pub, Placerville Hardware, and Kelsey’s Needle Krafts.
The dolls are currently on display in two glass cases outside the Board of Supervisors meeting room, Building B, 330 Fair Lane in Placerville. The dolls will be there through February and many will be entered in the El Dorado County Fair in June.
The FRA members are active or former enlisted members of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, while the auxiliary are spouses or relatives of the FRA members.