County and State Fairs – Scratch that Competitive Itch

Reblogged with permission from

Runner-up beans at the 2012 Montgomery County Fair

Do you love the county fair? Did your parents ever take you to the state fair because there was more fair there?

Remember wrist-band day? It was caution-to-the-wind as your parents said, “Meet me back here at the grandstand at 6:00. Sharp.”

You – two bags of cotton candy. Your best friend – dares you to ride the Gravatron for the fifth time.

We were just at the Montgomery County Fair in Gaithersburg, MD yesterday. I’ve been to many fairs and this one blows me away. Aside from the delightful animal barns with their wooden stalls and open-air construction that encourage you to admire the livestock, the farm, garden and flower contest entries will make any gardener flush with envy. Tomatoes beckon like seed catalog illustrations and impossibly plump pole beans lay alongside sun flowers that cast shadows.

The Montgomery County Fair just happened to fall on the week following the 2012 Summer Olympics. I can’t help but wonder if the non-ribbon-winning contestants for Corn – Feed Grade feel it’s an honor just to compete, or, if like McKayla Maroney, they are not impressed with the category’s blue ribbon winner.

What about us in the city? Can we podium with the spoils of our summer labor on our balconies, tiny front yards and sidewalk tree boxes? County fairs have strict rules that competition entrants be raised or grown within the county, likewise for state fairs.

Our own DC State Fair answers that call to celebrate – and compete – in agriculture and craft of the urbanite.

If 80 percent of success is showing up, then the 2012 DC State Fair’s broad spectrum of twenty+ contests has a little something for everyone – pick one and show up.

From homebrewing to photography, kid’s art & poetry to beekeeper honey, pie baking to cupcake-ing, knit & crochet & sewing contests to bike accessory making, home pickling & fermenting to vegetable growing – pick your favorite hobby (or learn a new one!) and see how easy it is to register to compete.

Some contests have limited registration capacity, others will accept entries the day of, but plan ahead and envision what you’ll do with that blue ribbon. (Can you say Instagram gold?)

If your main hobby is socializing, join the fun and cheer on the ag-athletes! The 2012 DC State Fair will be held Saturday, September 22nd, as part of the Barracks Row Fall Festival along 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill.

Do you live nowhere near DC but want to get in on the grow-your-own and make-it-yourself competitive spirit? Find your state agricultural fair here or simply Google your county fair for dates and location.

Get the kids involved, or cultivate your own blue ribbon wishes, the fair is for everyone.

Blue ribbons for days at the Montgomery County Fair

Reblogged with permission from

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