Apply by Nov 13 to be on the Board of Directors!

DC State Fair Board 2015

We’re thrilled to send you this call for applications to the DC State Fair board. As a supporter of the Fair, you’re in a great position to apply. Please consider throwing your hat into the ring to join our fun, hard-working, all-volunteer crew.

Applications are due November 13th, so don’t delay!

If you are a fan of the DC State Fair, you now have a chance to get to know us even better. We are seeking four new members of the Board of Directors. If you have experience with nonprofit management, event planning, organizational development, website development, or deep roots in the District, a community development and engagement background, or just a passion to bring agricultural, culinary, and arts education to the community to develop and encourage neighborly showcasing of talent and competition, then we want you to apply.

About DC State Fair
DC is home to gardeners, cooks, bakers, photographers, artists—and yet we didn’t have a state fair to celebrate the home-grown talents of the District. In 2010, that all changed: The first-ever DC State Fair was held to showcase the talents of DC’s residents. We are looking forward to making the 2016 Fair the best yet!

DC State Fair is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization.

The following duties are the responsibility of the leaders of DC State Fair and may be performed primarily by Board members: Direct the efforts of the various committees (Volunteer, Contests, Events, Community Outreach, Development Committees and Subcommittees [Board members are encouraged to participate in committee operations but do not necessarily need to act as committee chairs]); liaise with DC-based and other local organizations and businesses that complement and/or support the DC State Fair mission; ensure stable financial and legal standing (primarily performed by the CFO on the Board); offer programming and events throughout the year, in addition to the main Fair, possibly in collaboration with organizations that align with DC State Fair’s mission.

Time Commitment
Board members will attend regular meetings beginning in January and intermittent committee/volunteer management duties depending on chosen role. From May until the Fair in September, our work intensifies. The Board of Directors will have the greatest time commitment during this period. The overall commitment can range from 4 hours a month during the planning stages to 10+ hours a week as the event approaches, depending on role and personal availability. These are strictly volunteer opportunities.

Term of Office
Board members serve two-year terms, with overlapping terms.

To apply, please e-mail your resume, a cover letter (explaining why you want to be on the Board) to The deadline to apply is November 13, 2015.

2015 DC State Fair Winners

Below are the winners of the 2015 DC State Fair. Thank you to everyone who participated in the!

Congratulations to the winners!

Best Bud

Blue Kenneth Gore
Red Terence Ollivierra
White Patrick Burns


Blue Andrew Robie
Red Mark Perry
White John Henry Wheeler

Cut Flower

Blue Mark Perry
Red Ramona Winkelbauer
White Mark Perry

Floral Arrangement

Blue Mercina Tillemann-Dick
Red Joe Bozik
White Lindsey Truitt
Homegrown Mark Perry


Best in Show

Brian DeFord

Homebrew – Fruit & Spice

Blue Brian DeFord
Red Eric Lausten
White Michael Ficht

Homebrew – Yeast

Blue Austin Burke & Shawn Choy
Red Alex Lynch
White Omar Al-Nidawi

Homebrew – Malt

Blue Peter Saunders
Red Brian Holtemey
White Paydon Miller

Homebrew – Hop

Blue Robert Burrell
Red Eric Lausten
White Candace Archer
Homegrown Andy Oetman


Blue Caroline Hutton
Red Frank Asher
White Pavel Snejnevski

Kids Contests

Poetry PreK – 2 Grade

Blue Ella Davidson
Red Sadie Davidson

Poetry 3rd – 6th Grade

Blue Grace Gavin
Red Elon Wilson

Art PreK – 2nd Grade

Blue Phoebe Luecke
Red Sajan Torchia
White Felix Zook

Art 3rd – 6th Grade

Blue Melaiya Brooks
Red Alcia Bangura
White Hans Zook

Art 7th – 9th Grade

Blue Arjinae Jones

Knitting and Crocheting Contest

Blue Tracy Lini
Red Jennifer Biehl
Red Pamela Spence
White Tina Morgan

Pickled Foods


Blue Mark Perry
Red Robert Carlson
White Kelly Domesle
HG Mark Perry

Pickled – Other Vegetable

Blue Mindy Hackett
Red Andrew Robie
White Kelly Domesle

Pickled – Fruit

Blue Mindy Hacket
Red Mark Perry
White None

Pie Contests


Blue Elizabeth Pletcher
Red Sarah Stella
White Ninette Dean

Pie – Sweet

Blue Sarah Stella
Red Elizabeth Zeitler
White Ranyee Chiang
Homegrown Sarah Stella

Pie – Apple

Blue Elizabeth Pletcher
Red Ninette Dean
White Elizabeth Helton

Pie – Savory

Blue Nina Zimdahl
Red Elizabeth Zeitler
White Ellen McBarnette
Homegrown Ellen McBarnette

Pie – Crust

Blue Elizabeth Pletcher
Red Ninette Dean
White Sarah Stella

Tastiest Tomato 

Blue JO Wilson School Garden
Red Mark Perry
White Niraj Ray

Vegetable Contest

Funkiest Veggie

Blue Andrew Robie
Red Mark Perry
White Name missing (round cucumber)

How to Hand Tie Your Flower Bouquet

If you’re entering the Flower Arranging contest at the DC State Fair this Saturday, you’ve been asked to deliver the bouquet in a hand tied bunch.

Not sure how to do that? Check out this video from the authors of Simple Flower Arranging, Mark Welford and Stephen Wicks, to learn how to make a simple hand tied flower arrangement.

Preregistration for the Flower Arranging contest is due September 10th. We will be accepting onsite registration on the day of the Fair up to 50 entries. Register today!

Adopt Force 1 to the Rescue!

adopt force one DC State Fair is excited to announce that the Washington Humane Society will be at the event from 12 to 4pm.  They will also be marching in the Pet Parade with some of the furry friends that are up for adoption.

Both dogs and cats will be available for adoption at their mobile adoption vehicle Adopt Force 1, which is a one stop shop for adoptions. Visitors are invited on board to view cats while volunteers walk dogs in the vicinity.

All adoptions are same day, meaning adopters can take home their newest family member straight from the event!

Find out more at


Interview with Let’sGrowDC’s Chris Washburn

Chris Washburn, owner and founder of Let’sGrowDC—and sponsor of the DC State Fair Best Bud Contest—recently caught up with DC State Fair board members to talk about his background, business, and the organic urban gardening revolution taking place in DC today.

Q: In a few words, what is Let’sGrowDC and how can it help District residents?
A: Let’sGrowDC provides affordable gardening resources and supplies—and also offers gardening classes. The classes offered are for everyone, including first time gardeners and advanced hydroponic gardeners. We also provide individual consulting and design to help bring our clients gardening ideas to life. Whether they are growing in or around their own home, or building out a large commercial garden, we have the tools and knowledge to design and construct the garden while ensuring that the garden environment is as efficient and cost effective as possible.

Q: Specifically, what kind of services and products does Let’sGrowDC provide to District residents?
A: Let’sGrowDC provides gardening classes; design services for indoor, outdoor, rooftop, residential, commercial, and industrial spaces; conducts feasibility studies; offers wholesale fulfillment; sale of retail supplies; and installation services at home or for commercial spaces.

Q: How is Let’sGrowDC different from other urban gardening consultants in DC?
Let’sGrowDC combines both retail indoor and outdoor garden supply with education, design, and consultation. The shop primarily focuses on supporting local indoor gardeners, while outside the shop we have a more familiar landscaping model tweaked to fit our urban environment. We also provide feasibility, consultation, design, and fulfillment for large commercial installations by providing support from staffing and operating commercial gardens.

Q: What’s your background and experience with gardening?
A: I grew up on a farm in Great Falls Virginia, where I was first introduced to organic gardening. In 1999, in Eugene, Oregon, I first began hydroponics and indoor gardening. I spent a decade working at various medicinal marijuana grow operations throughout the state, including my own personal indoor garden, which produced everything from cannabis to tomatoes.

Q: What’s your most notable experience as one of DC’s urban gardening consultants?
A: What I love the most about working in the District is the sense of community and camaraderie among experienced gardeners and I enjoy meeting first time gardeners. The city is prime for urban gardening and as it continues gain popularity so does the need for education about growing techniques, which should come from local experienced gardeners sharing their knowledge throughout the community.

Q: What’s your inspiration for starting Let’sGrowDC?
A: People have been farming for more than100,000 years, yet in only the past 50 years we have given up the practice of self-reliant farming in favor of more specialized lifestyles, thus requiring our food and produce to be purchased from stores. Specifically in urban settings, there is a general lack of active farms and home gardens, as well as gardening knowledge. It is Let’sGrowDC’s goal to help spread gardening knowledge throughout the city, and to help potential gardeners reach their goals. I personally began gardening indoors with hydroponics in the late 1990s, and from day one it changed my life. I think we all have a gene inside of us, which encourages us to cultivate. Once you do begin to cultivate your garden, it feels great. It feels like you’re living a happier, healthier life.

Visit Let’sGrowDC at 1111 10th st SE, near the navy yard metro station, and see for yourself what makes Let’sGrowDC stand out from other DC-based indoor urban gardening centers.

2015 DC State Fair Schedule

Throughout the day on the main stage, you’ll be able to see contests being judged by our expert judges (see schedule below). 

In addition to watching the contests, you’ll be able to enjoy performances by musicians Lennon English and the New Soul Republic and Near Northeast, and demonstrations from the National Hand Dance Association and the YMCADJ Fusion will be the DC State Fair’s official DJ, delivering an eclectic range of tunes. 

You’ll be able to purchase food, drinks and crafts from our vendors around the fair grounds. There will also be a Beer Garden from 12-8pm, hosted by Whole Foods Market.

Boneyard Studios, DC’s tiny house community, will host tours of one of its tiny houses at the top of each hour. We will also have an tent with educational workshops running  from 12-6:30pm (click here for the schedule).

12 – 12:30pm Lennon English and the New Soul Republic
12:30 – 1pm Welcome!

Announce photography, kids art & poetry, poster contest winners.

1 – 1:30pm YMCA Workout Demo
1:30 – 2pm Judge and announce winners for ice cream contest.
2 – 2:15pm Announce cut flower, flower arrangement contests.
2:15 – 3pm Judge and announce winners of funkiest, longest, heaviest veggie and heaviest fruit contest.

Announce tastiest tomato and compost contest winners.

3 – 3:15pm Announce pie contest finalists.
3:15 – 3:45pm National Hand Dance Association
3:45 – 4pm Announce jam and jelly contest winners.
4 – 4:15pm Announce pickled foods winners.
4:15 – 4:45pm Final judging and announce winners of best bud contest.
4:45 – 5pm Knit/crochet contest winners announced.
5 – 5:30pm Final pie contest judging. Winners announced.
5:30-5:45pm Honey contest winners announced.
5:30 – 6pm Final homebrew contest judging. Winners announced.
6:30 – 8pm DJ Fusion
Near Northeast

For a schedule of contest drop-off, judging and announcements, click here.

New this year – Agriculture, Food, and Craft Demos!

For the first year ever, we will have a tent solely devoted to educational demos. Check out our lineup of workshops and click on the links below for more info on the workshops and instructors.

12:00- 12:30pm: Rose Care by Byron Gwinn,  Frager’s Hardware

12:45 – 1:15pm: Growing Traditional Ethnic Crops and Why This is Important by Yao  Afantchao, University of DC

1:30-2:00pm: Terrarium Craft by Byron Gwinn, Frager’s Hardware

2:15-2:45pm: Healthy Cooking, YMCA

3:00-3:30pm: Yoga for Beginners by Ben Sislen, Shaw Yoga

3:45-4:15pm: Fall Gardening/Winterizing Your Garden by Caroline Selle, Neighborhood Farm Initiative

4:30-5:00pm: How to Cook Delectable Risotto, Chef Matt Finarelli

5:15-5:45pm: Container Gardening by Caroline Selle, Neighborhood Farm Initiative

6:00-6:30pm: Tiny Houses, Jay Austin

Workshop Descriptions

12:00 – 12:30pm: Rose Care by Byron Gwinn,  Frager’s Hardware

The Rose Care workshop will cover the following topics: selecting a rose for the area, proper dead heading, and after winter pruning.

Byron Gwinn is the Assistant Manager at Frager’s Garden center and garden design consultant. As well as owning and operating Gwinn Landscape Design LLC native/organic driven  garden design.  Masters of Landscape Design candidate at  GWU. All around plant geek.

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12:45 – 1:15pm: Growing Traditional Ethnic Crops and Why This is Important, Yao Afantchao at UDC

This workshop will cover the creation of an ethnic food system in Washington DC, through making ethnic crops available, accessible and affordable.

Yao Afantchao is the leading specialist in the ethnic and specialty crops program, at the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) University of the District of Columbia. As an MCE program specialist, Mr. Afantchao contributed to the ethnic vegetables program with the following outcomes (1) ethnic and specialty program recognition at the University of Maryland research and education center; (2) dissemination of ethnic vegetables production guide to farmers; (3) adoption of ethnic and specialty vegetables by Maryland farmers including Amish and Mennonite farmers; (4) expansion of specialty produce acreage bringing additional profit to farmers; and (5) ethnic vegetable markets expansion including Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West States. Mr. Afantchao has received several recognitions and awards including smoke house grant, (Maryland Industrial Partnerships) the Mid-Atlantic Food and Farm Summit’s Farming Leadership award and the most prestigious Honorary County Agent and Service to Agriculture award.

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1:30 – 2:00pm: Terrarium Craft, Byron Gwinn from Frager’s Hardware

The Terrarium Craft workshop will cover the following topics: the importance of the layers, choosing a container, and long term care.

Byron Gwinn is the Assistant Manager at Frager’s Garden center and garden design consultant. As well as owning and operating Gwinn Landscape Design LLC native/organic driven  garden design.  Masters of Landscape Design candidate at  GWU. All around plant geek.

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2:15 – 2:45pm: Healthy Cooking, YMCA

Description coming soon…

3:00 – 3:30pm: Yoga by Ben Sislen, Shaw Yoga

Namaste Shaw! We are thrilled to open the doors of our light-filled studio to the Shaw and greater DC Community. Yoga means union: of body and mind, of individuals, of intention and action. Shaw Yoga sits at a crossroads in DC. Walk out of the studio and look left, and you see the houses and smaller businesses of Uptown. Look right, and the bustle of Downtown greets you. Across the street sits the Convention Center. To this urban union point, we bring the uniting opportunity of yoga. Come relax, breathe, stretch, sweat, strengthen, and grow with us.

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3:45 – 4:15pm: Fall Gardening/Winterizing Your Garden by Caroline Selle, Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Winter doesn’t have to mean an end to the garden. Join us as we discuss the optimal fall crops for climate and some simple ways to extend the growing season.

Caroline Selle grew up gardening and is passionate about food and climate justice and about bringing diverse groups together around food growing. She holds a self-designed degree in Environmental Outreach and Communications from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Permaculture Design Certificate from Oregon State University, and is pursuing her interests in botany and soil science. Caroline has grown food on a historic plantation and on the St. Mary’s campus farm, which she helped to found. She is working on turning her yard into an edible landscape

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4:30 – 5:00pm: Cooking Risotto, Chef Matt Finarelli

In this workshop, he’ll be demonstrating one of his favorite dishes – risotto. This rice dish, popular in Northern Italy is one that people seem to have trouble mastering, but it all comes down to a few simple tricks that Chef Matt will demonstrate. And of course, at the end, there’ll be plenty for everyone to sample!

Chef Matt Finarelli is a DC-area native having grown up just across the river in Arlington, VA. In his many years as a chef and culinary instructor, he’s taught thousands of people in the area to love not just the eating of food, but the cooking as well! Featured in cooking schools around the area like the Hill Center in DC, he also gives lessons right in student’s homes, so you can enjoy great food, great times and learn a little something along the way.

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5:15 – 5:45pm: Container Gardening by Caroline Selle, National Farm Initiative

Container gardening can be simple and productive. Learn how to grow fresh herbs and vegetables on your balcony, windowsill, or patio.

Caroline grew up gardening and is passionate about food and climate justice and about bringing diverse groups together around food growing. She holds a self-designed degree in Environmental Outreach and Communications from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Permaculture Design Certificate from Oregon State University, and is pursuing her interests in botany and soil science. Caroline has grown food on a historic plantation and on the St. Mary’s campus farm, which she helped to found. She is working on turning her yard into an edible landscape.

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6:00 – 6:30: Tiny House, Jay Austin

Jay Austin is the  is currently living in the Matchbox,  which is a Tiny House stationed at  Old City Farm and Guild. He will be giving tours at the top of every hour and will be in the education tent at 6pm to tell you about the Tiny House concept, where it originated and why people are choosing a different lifestyle.  Find out more at the Tiny House.

Boneyard Studios is DC’s only tiny house community—a not-for-profit showcasing sustainable and space-efficient construction and community in the District and beyond—and this fall one of its tiny houses, the Matchbox, is at Old City Farm & Guild. Tiny house tours will be held at the top of every hour, and at 6PM Boneyard Studios co-founders Lee Pera and Jay Austin will be in the education tent to chat about the tiny house concept, why folks are choosing to right-size, life in a tiny house, and more about tiny houses in DC.

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Questions? Contact the us at