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Greenwood library planning learning fair

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In a single afternoon, residents can learn how a proper cup of tea is more than just hot water and a tea bag.

They can be taught how to recycle just about everything, and how to give a speech that everyone remembers. Belly dancing, taekwondo and tai chi are all available to explore.

The Greenwood Public Library will become a clearinghouse for all sorts of information when it hosts its How-To Fair next week. The event brings together more than 30 presenters from around central Indiana to give instruction on a wide range of topics.

“We’re just hoping to present a whole bunch of fun, new things to learn,” said Aubrey Watson, reference librarian at the library. “We have a few that are library-related, but mostly it’s a community event to come together with others who can share things they can do.”

The idea for the How-To Fair evolved after library officials heard of a similar program at libraries on the East Coast. Since the library already is a place for learning in the community, Watson said, why not expand education efforts and include topics people might not be able to find in a book? With the plan for the fair set, organizers went to work figuring out what to spotlight. In almost all cases, they came up with concepts and skills that they thought people would be interested in, then worked to find experts to teach and discuss them.

“Over and over, we kept saying, ‘It would be cool if we could learn to do this, I had no idea how to do this thing,’” Watson said. “Some of it was community members who we knew of, who had this skill we thought would be useful.”

The result is a mix of tangible skills and abstract concepts that people can check out.

Dr. Charles Thomas, owner of Chateau Thomas Winery and a Greenwood resident, will help people learn about the health benefits of a glass of wine. Indiana Working Dogs owner Greg Hollen will give instruction on how to train your dog.

Ron Weber, from Boy Scout Troop 263, will provide information on how to go camping and hiking properly, while area resident Phil Wilson gives his take on being the “ultimate Colts fan.”

For the presenters, the fair is a fun opportunity to meet new people and give a greater understanding about their life’s passion.

Ronda Valentine, who owns Sweetcakes by Ronda in Indianapolis, will demonstrate how to properly frost a cake. When library organizers contacted her about taking part in the fair, she jumped at the chance.

“It’s a great idea. I used to teach cake decorating classes, but those cost money and take four weeks. This is a short two-hour session,” she said. “Cakes are so popular right now, it’s something that people want to learn about.”

Local artist Patty Coulter, who specializes in calligraphy, will have her pads, inks and pens available for people to try out their own fancy script.

She was looking forward to not just interacting with other people but seeing what kinds of other skills would be on display.

“It sounds like a very interesting event for the community, to come and learn to do many different things,” Coulter said.

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