Monday, April 7, 2014

Time to Get Ready for the County Fair!

It's almost fair time! As you've surely noticed, I am a HUGE fan of county fairs. Fairs have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up entering dozens of items in the fair each year, including arts and crafts, all sorts of baked goods, woodworking, preserved food, and more. 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.

2013, 3rd place- Kids Tablesetting Contest

Sadly, entries are down and fairs across the country 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 really sad. So what can be done to change the fate of the fair? Attending the fair helps. If you've never been, give it a try! We visit at least three fairs a year and sometimes more. They're each very different.

However, I'd like to encourage you not just to attend your local county fair(s) but also to consider entering something you've made, grown, or collected. Since you're reading my blog, chances are that you enjoy scrapbooking, cooking, or kids' crafts and quite possibly 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.

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 are three of Trevor's blue ribbons from 2013, all for projects I've shared here on the blog.


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!

7 comments:

  1. I used to love to attend the fair here when I was younger ... even used to enter my stuff ... but sadly, the fair here has earned a HORRIBLE rap for being dangerous ... so attendance is wayyyyyy down :(

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    1. Have you tried a surrounding county? I'm not familiar with Arizona's fairs, but I'd be surprised if you couldn't enter elsewhere. You and Brooke make so much fabulous stuff and it's a shame you don't enter it. How sad that your fair has become dangerous. That's heart-breaking. I hope there are efforts to change that around and make the fair the family-friendly place it should be.

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  2. I'm putting in the plug for Alameda County! We accept all counties touching Alameda (plus a few others that don't technically touch). If you can make it or grow it, we've got a spot to enter it! (Including a Pinewood derby race, a Christmas tree decorating contest, a dress like a storybook character contest, lego building...)
    www.acfairexhibits.com

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  3. We always went to the El Dorado County fair! My family still does -- as do most of the community there! I used to enter stuff every year as a kid. I haven't ever attended the fair here in Monterey County. Thinking that maybe this year is the year to change that! Can't wait to see your entries this year!! :)

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    1. You should! I've been to the Monterey County Fair once and enjoyed it. That was many, many years ago so I'd be eager to hear how it is. Don't just go though - enter!!

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    2. In all my spare time.... ;) LOL I'll have to look into it. I'll let you know!! ;)

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  4. I'm finally getting to catch up on reading blogs this week! I love hearing about all the things you and Trevor do with the fair! We go every year to our state fair, usually a couple of times. I've never thought about entering anything before. I may see if I can find information on it! :)

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