Brandy Dixon of Milan was crowned the 2022 Monroe County Homemaker of the Year.
Dixon was crowned Thursday, during the Ladies Day program at the Monroe County Fair. Presenting the sash and crown was Kristin Anikewich, last year’s Monroe County Homemaker of the Year.
“I was very surprised,” Dixon said.
Dixon and her husband, Anthony, have two children, Ryan, 2, and Brynleigh, 6-months. A former teacher, she’s now a stay-at-home mom.
“She is very, very worthy,” said Brenda Reau, who co-founded the Homemaker of the Year Award 50 years ago with Linda Siebarth.
Although contestants can have jobs outside the home, Dixon decided not to enter the competition until she was a full-time, stay-at-home mom.
Dixon taught at Holy Ghost Lutheran School for eight years and started an archery program there, before transitioning to her new status.
“I’ll be honest: growing up, I never had the desire to become a stay-at-home mom or a ‘housewife.’ I had big dreams of becoming an amazing teacher and influencing a lot of little lives,” Dixon wrote in her application. “Then I had my son. Then COVID happened. Those two major, life-changing events happened back-to-back and derailed the plans I thought I had for my life.”
COVID brought virtual learning, which brought Dixon home.
“I discovered something I never would have discovered without the influences of a global pandemic: I loved staying home. I loved all the extra time I had with my son. I found a new rhythm to the day of taking care of my son and taking care of our household," she said.
That summer she grew a large garden and learned to can food. The following year, Dixon returned to Holy Ghost for her final school year.
“My heart had shifted. God had called me to something new. I’m still 100 percent confident in my decision,” she said.
Dixon and her husband recently started Ground Up Flower Farm, a you-pick farm in Britton.
“I am in charge of marketing, by designing our farm logo and road sign,” Dixon said. “I also created a website and Facebook page. Once we have flowers, I plan to create and sell bouquets as well.”
The family also are active members of New Life Church of Petersburg.
Dixon is a Monroe County 4-H alum, starting the program when she was 12. At one time, she was in seven clubs and showed several animals, including broiler chickens and turkey. Later, she started her own club, Treasure Hunters 4-H Club, which she still leads. She is superintendent of the toy category in the craft barn and shows crafts, photography, baking and more in the fair’s open class competition.
Dixon thinks highly of the fair's homemaker award.
“When I quit teaching, I lost my identity for a time. I had always defined myself as a teacher and that disappeared. I have since discovered that being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker is a calling, just like teaching. This homemaker program gives recognition and validity to this important job," she said.
Anikewich, last year’s Monroe County Homemaker, will advance to the state homemaker competition later this week in Traverse City.
Each year, past Monroe County Homemaker award recipients are invited to attend the crowning of the new homemaker. This year, 13 came, including Onalee Kraus of Coldwater, who was Monroe’s first Homemaker of the Year in 1972.
Of the 13 homemakers in attendance, four went on to win Michigan Homemaker of the Year.
“Monroe County does well at the state competition,” Reau said.
Past homemakers also entered a drawing for a cookbook with Civil War recipes. Sue Arting was the winner.
The Ladies Day program at the fair was sponsored by the Mall of Monroe and Carroll/Ochs Jewelers.
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Brandy Dixon is Monroe County's Homemaker of the Year