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Tree farm, wreath maker score at fair

POSTED: October 30, 2009 9:21 a.m.
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The Brewers' leyland cypress entry stands next to an undecorated wreath. Both won blue ribbons at the Georgia State Fair.

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When she’s not stringing together quotes and facts for newspaper stories, Jesup Press-Sentinel reporter Raye Nakles spends her free time weaving boughs of holly and fresh evergreen for her award-winning Christmas wreaths. For the past 16 years, she has spent her free weekends at Brewer’s Christmas Tree Farm in Midway, making wreaths and selling her homemade jams and jellies.
Paschal and Judy Brewer, the farm’s owners, have won many awards at the Georgia State Fair in Perry for their Christmas trees and, for the past six years, the farm has also claimed prize ribbons for Nakles’ handmade wreaths.
 When the decorated and undecorated wreath categories became part of the state fair judging, the Brewers said they knew Nakles would be up for the challenge.
In addition to her writing and wreath-making, Nakles owns a small business in Ludowici and is enrolled in graduate school at Georgia Southern University. She creates wreaths from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
“I love working with my hands,” Nakles said. “No matter how busy I get, I have to make the wreaths. It keeps me connected to the land.”
Because there were only few entries, she said her first couple state fair wins came easily. “Now, the competition is getting tougher, and I hold my breath until the judging is over,” Nakles said.
Judy Brewer said the competition has increased mostly because Nakles hosted a workshop at the farm during the Georgia Christmas Tree Association’s meeting in 2006, where she demonstrated her technique.
In addition to two first place wreath entries, Brewer’s farm also won in the following Christmas tree categories:
Four first-place entries:
• Leyland cypress, 5-7 feet
• Carolina sapphire
• Eastern red cedar
• Murray “X”
Two second-place entries:
• Virginia pine, 5-7 feet
• Virginia pine, 7-9.5 feet
Two third-place
entries:
•Leyland cypress, 7-9.5 feet
•Blue ice
Brewer’s was also named the grand champion and sweepstakes winner for having the most winning entries.
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