Sunday, September 24, in Southwest Washington, DC, will see the arrival of the eighth annual DC State Fair from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. At Waterfront Station, the public is invited to enjoy contests that crown the city’s best growers, crafters, and cooks; performances from local musicians and dance troupes; and more than 55 food, art, and craft vendors showcasing and selling their wares.

The Live Hula Hoop Contest will return to the DC State Fair in 2017. Image by Elliot Williams/Capital Photography Center.

This daylong celebration of all things homegrown is unique among local fairs and festivals: it is run entirely by volunteers, is free to attend, and is held in different neighborhoods from year to year, making the Fair accessible to all DC residents and visitors. This year, the DC State Fair has partnered with the Southwest Business Improvement District to bring the event to Waterfront Station.

“We are thrilled to be part of the DC State Fair this year,” said Steve Moore, Executive Director of the Southwest BID. “This event has become a DC ‘Signature Event.’ It’s unique, fun, and perfect for Southwest.”

While the DC State Fair is inspired by time-honored state fair traditions—like growing and gardening, animal husbandry, and deep-fried foods—it also honors the things that make DC unique. This means the DC State Fair puts on a Pet Parade instead of a pig race and holds competitions to find the best pupusas, mumbo sauce, and Double Dutch jumpers in the city.

“The DC State Fair is not like any other fair,” said Ashley Chaifetz, Contest Coordinator and member of the DC State Fair Board of Directors. “DC is a diverse place and our fair is reflective of our communities. Sure, we’ve got Best Strawberry Jam and Best Apple Pie, but we’ve also got our ever-popular, long-standing Best Compost, Best Bud, and Best Homebrew contests. New to the contest roster for 2017 are Best Kids’ Cupcake, Best Pupusa, Watermelon Seed-Spitting, and Double Dutch. There is something for everyone–from Fido to Felicia–which is why folks continue to show up.”

A man eating a sloppy joe sandwich.
The Live Sloppy Joe Eating Contest will return to the DC State Fair in 2017. Image by Mariel Smith/Capital Photography Center.

The DC State Fair is also committed to working with local businesses and organizations that help our community thrive. This year, for instance, the DC State Fair has partnered with NeatMeat DC to supply the sandwiches in its Sloppy Joe Eating Contest and with The Public Option to craft a tribute to the winner of its Homebrew Contest. The DC State Fair has also partnered with Knowledge Commons DC to bring demonstrations and workshops to its Education Stage.

“DC is home to so many passionate, quirky people with backgrounds in fields like public policy, environmental science, and the arts,” said Ari Hock, Knowledge Commons DC communications lead. “We’ve found thousands of local teachers and students who want to share their ideas, and now we’re partnering with the DC State Fair to amplify their voices.”

For the third year, friendly pets on leashes, in cages, or in aquariums are invited to march in our Pet Parade. Pets and their owners are also encouraged to enter our pet-themed contests. Image by Barbara Gilbert/Capital Photography Center.

The DC State Fair will also host a live collaboration between Bailiwick Clothing Company and Soul & Ink: A Live Screen Printing Experience, who will pair popular Bailiwick designs (including The 51st State series) with DC-inspired Soul & Ink visuals to create unique “tee-mixes” for their customers.

“We’re big fans of Soul & Ink, and we love the way they make their craft so interactive,” said J.C. Smith, co-owner of Bailiwick.

Sherry Meneses of Soul & Ink explains, “Bailiwick’s classic typography-based designs, Soul & Ink’s streetwear-style graphics, and our mutual love for DC made this collaboration a natural fit.”

“And the DC State Fair is the perfect place for it to happen,” Smith added. “The Fair is all about DC pride. It’s family friendly, and it’s very interactive. We’re excited to do this. Folks are in for a treat!”

Want to participate in the DC State Fair? Enter a contest, volunteer, or just show up on the big day! Learn more at www.dcstatefair.org.

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