Monday, April 22, 2013

Time to Prepare for the County Fair!

As you've probably noticed, I am a HUGE fan of county fairs. I've been involved with fairs for as long as I can remember. My sister and I grew up entering dozens of items in the fair each year - arts and crafts, baked goods, woodworking, preserved food... and the list goes on and on. (Speaking of my sister, one of these days I should tell the story of my sister, a 10 gallon bucket of pickles that were curing in the corner of the family room, and how she was doing cartwheels too near the bucket. It's a family classic.)

Anyway, my history with the fair is long. My first paid job as a teenager was as an Exhibits Worker at the fair. As an adult, I continued to enter my stuff in the county fair. When I started teaching, I would enter my students' work in the fair and take them on a field trip to the fair to see their work exhibited. Eventually I was asked to be a judge at the fair. I still enter items in the fair (though obviously not in the categories I judge!). I love everything about the fair. So does Trevor.


Unfortunately, times have been really tough on fairs. Entries are down. Fairs are losing money. It is possible, even likely, that some of our fairs will die out in the not-so-far future. That makes me so sad.

So what can be done to change the fate of the fair? Attending the fair helps. But I'd like to encourage you not just to attend but instead to consider entering something you've made, grown, or collected. Since you're reading my blog, chances are good that you enjoy scrapbooking, cooking, or kids' crafts and perhaps all three. You can enter all of these in your local county fair.  There are categories for gardening, photography, gift wrapping, poetry, preserved foods, and cake decorating. You can enter flower arrangements or display a collection. The list goes on and on. People are always surprised to hear just how many different types of things can be entered in the fair.

Entering is easy. Entering is inexpensive. Entering is fun. Entering can be profitable.

If you're local to me and live in or near Solano County, click here:


If you live elsewhere, simply Google "_____ county fair."

Most counties allow residents from surrounding counties to enter their fair, so if entering in your own county fair is inconvenient (perhaps you'll be vacationing during the delivery dates) or the deadline for entries has already passed, consider entering in a surrounding county.

And don't forget your kids! The age differs in each county, but Trevor has been entering at the Solano County Fair since age 3. Any child can enter - you don't need to be affiliated with a school or youth organization. The crafts your children do at school, the projects or drawings they do at home, the photos they take, the foods they make.... all of those are things you can enter. Here is Trevor showing off the ribbon he earned in the tablesetting competition last year.


Every year I encourage friends to enter things in the fair and each year I hear people tell me that their stuff isn't good enough. First of all, it probably is. Don't sell yourself short! The cards you make, the scrapbook pages you put together, the photos you take, the stitchery you do, the flowers or vegetables you grow, the cookies you bake... I'd be willing to bet there is something you've made or grown that deserves to be entered in the fair. And, to be honest, entries are down so much in some categories that there are fewer people entering than there are prizes. As a judge, I have awarded first place to the ONLY item entered in a category. A more popular category might only have a dozen entries, with cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Those aren't bad odds.

I hope all of you will consider entering something (and helping your children enter something!) in your local county fair  If you have any questions or need any help, please let me know. This is something I believe in passionately and am more than willing to help walk any of you through the process of entering. Long live the fair!

5 comments:

  1. I want to hear the pickle story!! Unfortunately I would agree that the Fairs are dying ... at least it feels that way to me here in Phoenix ... the costs to get in are WAY too high and sadly the only place they can hold it here is in a really bad part of town -- not to many peeps want to venture in that neighborhood anymore!!

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  2. I love the fair! I have great memories of going to the El Dorado County Fair and the State Fair growing up. :) And I'm with Julie, I want to hear the pickle story too!! Can't wait to see what you & Trevor make to enter this year :)

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  3. I just googled our parish (county) fair. I'm going to see what categories there are to enter. Thanks for the inspiration Cindy!!

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  4. Such a wonderful thing to do - to enter yours and your son's things into the fair's competitions! I love that idea, Cindy! I can't wait to see what you do this year!

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  5. I love how involved you are, and how Trevor is learning first-hand all these good things! ;)

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