In her kitchen off Jenkins Springs Road about 3 miles south of Early, Dale Henderson — a great-grandmother and matriarch of multiple generations of Brown County Youth Fair participants — coached 13-year-old Paislee Burney through the steps of canning jelly Thursday afternoon.
    “Turn your fire on … turn it all the way …” Henderson instructed Paislee as the girl poured, measured and stirred ingredients in various containers.
    Paislee is just one of hundreds of Brown County youth who are busily preparing their entries in the Home Economics and/or Livestock Divisions of the 65th Annual Brown County Youth Fair, which runs Jan. 9-14 at the youth fair barns on U.S. Highway 377 South.
    “Dale is teaching the ancient art of canning,” Paislee’s mother, Melissa, said as she watched the two work.
    Henderson is superintendent of Senior Food in the Home Economic Division.  
    Paislee is an eighth-grader at Brownwood Intermediate School who will enter her jellies in the HomEconomics division, and show two rabbits in the Livestock Division.
    Melissa Burney is superintendent of Senior Craft and junior clothing superintendent in the Home Economics Division, and  She began participating in the youth fair at age 9, and has worked at the fair as a judge for much of her adult life. 2017 is her first year to be on the fair board.
    Is participating in the youth fair fun, or is it a lot of hard work?
    Yes.
    “You’re really preparing from the day after (last year’s) youth fair,” Henderson said.
    “Everybody’s doing last-minute things, I guarantee it,” Melissa Burney said.
     Paislee first participated in the youth fair as a fifth-grader, and the 2017 fair will be her third. She’s already had experience in canning, so Henderson’s coaching was more of a review.
    At last year’s fair, one of Paislee’s rabbits won the Junior Showmanship award.
    The fair opens Monday, Jan. 9 with the acceptance of clothing items in the Home Economics Division. Livestock Division judging begins the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 11. The fair ends Saturday, Jan. 14, with the Awards and Premium Sale.