Celebrating memories at the Gold Country Fair

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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The Gold Country Fair, with all its memory-making magic, kicks off today in Auburn. And whether it’s the first or 50th time you check out the fair, there’s plenty to see, touch and taste at the fairgrounds between now and Sunday. Fairgoers will find special pieces of living history on display that coincide with this year’s theme, “Where Memories Begin!” “It’s basically memories of the fair, whether it was 50 years ago or four years ago,” said Laurie Johnson, exhibit representative. Items on display in the Armory include a multi-generational family quilt created by Cool resident Marie Brothers. “I just made it originally for my mom’s spare bed,” Brothers said with a little laugh. The quilted family tree starts with a trunk bearing Brothers’ parents names and their wedding date, Aug. 7, 1939. At the base of the trunk are five tulips, representing Brothers and her siblings. The names of their children are printed on 19 red apples, and their children appear on the tree in the form of 34 apple blossoms. A fifth generation of family has started fluttering in the form of three yellow butterflies floating above the fruit-and-flower-laden tree. “I have 50 butterflies made and put away,” Brothers said. “I’m not sure if I’ll be the one to put them on, but they’re ready.” Brothers recalls starting the project around her parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, and she’s been adding to it for the past couple decades, as the family grows. “Several people have mentioned to me that this is family history and that I should enter it,” she said. Brothers said it wasn’t until a few years ago that she realized how big the quilt had become, and how significant it is to her family members. “You look at it and you realize, it just started with those two names on the trunk of a tree,” she said.