She didn’t have much time to spare before the deadline, but Arielle Bruce’s submission was eventually picked as the cover for last year’s Charles County Fair guide. But because the county fair was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bruce’s artwork ended up on the cover of this year’s guide.

The 97th annual Charles County Fair runs this week, Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 19, at the fairgrounds in La Plata.

“I just entered because I thought it would be a fun experience,” said Bruce, a senior at North Point High School. “I don’t really enter that many art contests but I’m still into painting and drawing. I just thought it would be fun to test my skill.”

The La Plata resident literally submitted her art at the buzzer after emailing it at 11:59 p.m. on May 23, 2020. That was before the fair board made the decision late last summer to cancel last year’s fair.

“I had a couple minutes left,” she said, “so I was pushing up against the odds.”

Bruce’s cover consists of a kaleidoscope of livestock, balloons, rides and an attraction tent and carnival game as her cover.

“I was inspired by vintage fairground posters and also the past catalogue covers so I wanted to incorporate that,” said Bruce, who used mostly watercolors but also incorporated ink, pens and markers. “I wanted to showcase everything the fair had to offer, but also not make it too cramped.”

Bruce, who is a member of several clubs at North Point High, is planning on majoring in graphic design or architecture in college.

“I was surprised [I won] because I had seen other entries and thought they were really worthy of winning,” said Bruce, who was awarded a cash prize.

“I’m very proud of my daughter,” Bruce’s mother, Pie Bruce, said.

This year’s fair guide contest was won by Piccowaxen Middle School’s Fearn Castleberry, who submitted a colorful drawing of the fairgrounds shown from the perspective of a person on a carnival ride.

Winners were also selected for each grade and include: James Winsett (T.C. Martin Elementary), Emersyn Stump (Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary), Mackenzie Rooney, incoming third grader at Martin; Blake Hinely (T.C. Martin Elementary), Peyton Biscoe, (T.C. Martin Elementary), Karaganne Burroughs (John Hanson Middle), Amelia Ritter (Piccowaxen Middle), Adassa Kingsley (La Plata High School), Emma Curry (Maurice J. McDonough High School), Carl Benjamin Maurice J. McDonough High School) and Melanie Hall (Maurice J. McDonough High School).

Twitter: @MichaelSoMdNews

Twitter: @MichaelSoMdNews