Thinking Outside the Mason Jar

Photo courtesy Bethany Karn
Photo courtesy Bethany Karn

Flower Arranging. It’s the most recent addition to the DC State Fair contest lineup, and contest coordinator Bethany Karn urges Washingtonians to “think outside the Mason jar.” What do Mason jars have to do with flower arranging, you ask? Everything at this year’s Fair, since participants must creatively arrange their flowers (which must be locally grown or purchased at a local farmer’s market) in a Mason jar.

Sign up for the Flower Arranging Contest now!

The flower arranging contest judging will be based on four different aspects: the creative and ingenious use of the Mason jar (as a vase); in addition to color, composition and overall design in the flower arrangement.

Karn suggests that Mason jars have recently been written off as simple, unfashionable and overused, and she wants to give a nod to the fact that they are affordable, cute and authentically all-purpose. “Everyone can get their hands on a Mason jar. People can be creative and do what they want to the jar, and dress it up,” says Karn. For tips on what to do with your jar, Karn suggests you peruse Pintrest for countless ideas.

As for the actual arrangement itself, Karn says that this time of year is the peak of flower season in the District, so contestants should have no issue putting together a beautiful bouquet of flowers grown in DC. Flowers like dahlias, sweet autumn clematis, celosias, sedum, black eyed Susan’s, sunflowers, and marigolds are flowering right now in DC. Note that contestants can also purchase their flowers at a DC farmer’s market.

Photo courtesy Bethany Karn.
Photo courtesy Bethany Karn.

Karn is founder and designer of Butterkup Flowers, which brings locally sourced flower arrangements to you. ButterKup Flowers is only one of two florists in the District that source locally and they even offer DIY classes for brides who want to make their own flower arrangements. Karn started working in this field after a self-described midlife crisis and career change 8 years ago. She has loved working in the local, sustainable niche of the flower industry ever since.

The fifth annual DC State Fair will take place on September 20th from 12pm-7pm at Old City Farm and Guild in Washington DC, as a way to highlight the artistic, culinary, and agricultural talents of Washingtonians. Find out more at

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