They’re bound by years of friendship, they’re bound by their enthusiasm for the Brown County Youth Fair and they’re bound by their lovel for the young exhibitors who bring their animals or their Home Economics creations — and often it’s both to be judged and enjoyed.
    Six ladies who volunteer at the youth fair as superintendents in the Home Economics Division needed no urging to stand together for a few minutes Friday morning and talk — and often laugh — about their combined 200-plus years of youth fair experience.
    The ladies:
    • Beverly Sullivan of Lomita, general superintendent and clothing superintendent.
    • Joy Ferguson of Bangs, junior craft and intermediate clothing assistant superintendent.
    • Dale Henderson of Early, senior food superintendent.
    • Ann Costa of Brownwood, senior canning superintendent
    • Janet Murphree of Sidney, junior food superintendent.
    • Cindy Freeland of Early, intermediate and junior canning superintendent.
    As superintendents, the women are responsible for many details including logistical items in their divisions.
    Hundreds of colorful and expertly made items the exhibitors had made — including foods, crafts and canning — were judged Thursday, and Friday was a viewing day. Spectators browsed among rows of tables where the displays had been laid out.
    The women took a few minutes from the duties to talk about their long youth fair tenures.
    “It is family,” Henderson said.
    “We keep up with each other’s children,” Ferguson added.
    “ … And grandchildren,” a voice added.
    Freehand, who works as the secretary, said she’s a 40-year youth fair veteran, with 35 years spent on the Home Economics said.
    “I started when my daughter was in the fourth grade,” Murphree said. “I’ve been doing it 31 years.”
    Costa, a Brownwood Middle School teacher,  said she’s been involved with youth fair “for well over 40 years — before I even had children.”
    Henderson said she became involved in youth fair in 1963 and has seen her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren participate.
    “And everybody else’s children,” Murphree added.
    Ferguson, a retired elementary school teacher, said she’s in her 24th year, and Sullivan said she’s in her 29th youth fair year.
    “We’re all ladies that have had children in it,” Sullivan said. “But we still love it. We’re here doing what we love, and we’re good friends.”
    The women listened as Murphree told of graduating from Tarleton State University in 2000, when she was in her early 40s. Her daughter attended Tarleton at the same time, and the two had classes together.
    One day, one of their professors looked at them both and asked if they were sisters.
    “I said ‘yes,’” Murphree said, as all six women broke into laughter.
    As long as they’re alive and walk, the women said, they’ll continue volunteering at youth fair.
    Henderson pointed out her great-granddaughter, 21-year-old Taylor Beane of Brownwood, who participated in youth fair in school and now helps out in the Home Economics building.
    “I love youth fair,” Beane said. She said she learned from her great-grandmother, who “taught me everything I know.”