For Richfield's Ray Smieja, the first time's the charm.
Smieja placed first and was awarded a blue ribbon by officials at the Minnesota State Fair for his creative birdhouse he created in the shape of a concertina.
And at 85 years old, this was the first time he had ever entered a creation into the fair's annual competition. His first place ribbon was given within the Creative Activites—Works of Seniors division for birdhouses or feeders.
Smieja is the father of long-time teacher Dan Smieja.
"Even when [people] get older and increasingly infirm," Dan Smieja began in an e-mail. "Nevertheless, [they] can still function, and be creative and make contributions."
Ray Smieja's creation is currently on display in the *Ramberg Senior Building through the remainder of the fair.
Editor's Note: The location of the display was corrected from Education Building.