A Word from our Best Bud Sponsor

Let’sGrowDC is the sponsor of the 2015 Best Bud competition. 

image1At Let’sGrowDC, we are committed to building a vibrant urban gardening culture in the District through education, supply, and custom design.

At our core, we are an indoor garden supply, though our scope is much wider. What sets us apart from other gardening supply shops is our consultative approach. We cater to new growers and want them to build confidence and feel they can rely on us as a trusted advisor from seed to harvest. To accomplish this, we are proud to offer advice, educational blogs, and gardening classes free-of-charge.

image3We also specialize in creating customized indoor, outdoor, and rooftop gardens. No project is too big or small for our design studio, which works with clients to make sure their individual vision and needs will be met. We then work with independent contracts who are fully licensed and bonded in the District of Columbia to fulfill the design. Finally, we can provide ongoing maintenance and advice to keep the garden operating smoothly.

Whatever your vision may be, we at Let’sGrowDC will work with you every step of the way to make it a reality.

Let's grow DC logoFor individual consultations or to RSVP for our free classes, contact us at 202-525-4409 or

Check out or weekly educational blog at letsgrowdc.tumblr.com

Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/letsgrowdc


New to the Fair: Cut Flower Contest

Bring your cut flower to the DC State Fair on Sept. 12.

You wake up early on Saturday, September 12, the sun is shining through your window, and you can tell it’s going to be a beautiful day: dew drops still coating blades of grass, not a cloud in the sky, and birds singing in the air.

You’re competing in the DC State Fair Flower Arrangement Contest; so you walk out to your garden to make a bouquet, but there, in the center of your garden, you spot one flower more stunning than the others. It stands taller than any other flowers in your garden — it has a deeper, brighter color, the stem is sturdy and strong, and the petals are fuller than any you’ve seen before.

“Ah ha!” you exclaim. “There is a Cut Flower competition at the Fair this year. And this beaut will be the star of the show!” So you carefully kneel down and snip it with sharp scissors so you don’t bruise the stem, put it in a vase, and bring it to the Fair where master gardeners assess its color, stem and foliage, form, and size or variety.

If you have a garden, gaze around it and see if there is one that stands out from the rest.There’s nothing like bringing your homegrown best of the best to the Fair.

Learn more about the first DC State Fair Cut Flower Contest and register to compete by September 5. You can drop off your entry at Old City Farm and Guild on September 12 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bottles will be provided at the fair to protect the flowers before judging; all flowers will be judged in bottles that are the same size and type.

Enter Your Garden’s Gold for the Blue

Photo by Nicholas Saumweber, courtesy USDA.
Photo by Nicholas Saumweber, courtesy USDA.

Compost. To an unknown observer it’s dirt—steamy dirt with worms and bugs crawling through it, and yes, it smells kind of like feet. But to gardeners, it’s gold.

Compost is created from food scraps (veggies, fruits, grains), leaves, sticks and other garden debris. It then is left to rot (hence the smell of feet), sitting for about 3 months and occasionally turned by the gardener, so it can break down into a nutrient-rich, soil-like material.

Gardeners need a healthy balance of nutrients for their plants, and compost definitely delivers; it helps strengthen the soil so that plants can easily root and grow. Compost also keeps water in the soil for those hot, dry summer days when plants need moisture the most.

But not all compost is created equal, which is why we are having the first-ever compost competition this year at the DC State Fair. Judges will be able to tell which gardener’s compost has the most nutrients by assessing composition (are there living things in the compost?), consistency (will it retain moisture?), bouquet (how does it smell?), garden-appeal (will it work in your garden?), and the story behind the compost.

Learn more about the first DC State Fair Compost Contest, and register to compete by September 5. You can drop off your container of compost at Old City Farm and Guild on September 12 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Interested in making your own garden gold? Click here to learn about the basics of composting.


Calling all DC Homebrewers!

Is your IPA ready for prime time? Do people rave about your lager? Have you got a secret recipe for a killer stout?

Do you think your beer has what it takes to bring home the blue ribbon?

It is time for the DC State Fair’s annual Homebrew Competition where homebrewers from around the District will showcase their best recipes and compete for prizes and bragging rights.

Beers will be judged in five main flavor profile categories, including:

  • Hop
  • Malt
  • Roast, Smoke, and Wood
  • Yeast
  • Fruit and Spice

In addition, one beer will be awarded “Best in Show.” Special recognition will also be given to beers brewed with “Homegrown” DC ingredients.

To enter, drop off two UNMARKED bottles of your brew (12 oz to 25.4 oz (750 ml) at either of the below drop off spots.

Drop Off Spot #1 – Right Proper Brewing (624 T Street NW), between 2-5 pm, Friday August 28 only! 

Drop Off Spot #2 – 3 Stars Brewing (6400 Chillum Place NW), the homebrew shop, any other times. They are open 3 – 8 pm on Friday, August 28 and 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday, August 29. 

Note: Please be sure to include a piece of paper identifying your beers with your name and the name of the entry; the paper must be secured with a rubberband, any bottles with glue will be disqualified.

Please see all homebrew rules on the DC State Fair web site.

Remember, Pabst was nothing until it won the Blue Ribbon — now it’s PBR! See you at the Fair!

enter now button

Calling Kids to Compete in the Fair

Winner of last year's DC State Fair Kid's Art Contest.
Winner of last year’s DC State Fair Kid’s Art Contest.

A sense of pride fills a child who posts his or her artwork to the refrigerator door, for all to see. But what about sharing that artwork with the DC community at the DC State Fair?

The DC State Fair has Art and Poetry Contests available for kids of all ages (preschool through 9th grade). This year, we are partnering with the Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St NW) to host Art Sundays, to give children a supportive space to practice their creativity.

And instead of bringing the artwork home, it can be entered into the DC State Fair Art and Poetry competition (all entries are due by September 6 at 5pm). All artwork will be displayed at the DC State Fair on September 12, and the first, second and third place winners in Art and Poetry will be awarded a ribbon.

The library will provide assorted paper, glue, crayons, pencils, and scissors to inspire the imagination. Kids can bring any other materials they wish to use to create their masterpiece. Art Sundays will take place on August 23, August 30, and September 6 from 2pm to 3pm at the Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St NW). Contest sign-up forms are required and can be filled out at the library.

As a bonus, the Shaw Neighborhood Library will give prizes to the winners in each category. Library representatives will also be at the Fair to share general information about how to get involved in your local DC Public Library. For more information regarding the contests, please visit DCStateFair.org/2015-Contests.

Volunteer Meet and Greet

DC State Fair volunteers are the best!
DC State Fair volunteers are the best!

If you have signed up to volunteer at the Fair, we hope you’ll make it to the Volunteer Meet and Greet. Meet the board members and other volunteers at Right Proper Brewing Company on August 26th from 6-8pm. If you haven’t signed up to volunteer yet, you can do so at the Meet and Greet.

Date: Wednesday, August 26
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Place: Right Proper Brewing Company
624 T Street NW

Learn about the available volunteer positions and sign up now!

Questions? Contact our volunteer coordinator Jenn Nichols at jenn@thedcstatefair.org.

DCSF’s First Ever Pet Parade

Note that Pet Parade signup is now closed. If you haven’t already filled out an entry form, you will not be able to enter into the contests. All pets are invited to march! Before coming to the Parade, please review the DC Government’s rules and regulations below.

Bring your friendly pet on a leash, or in a cage, tank, or aquarium to the DC State Fair for the First Annual DC Pet Parade! Costumes (for you and your pet) are encouraged, but not required.

The parade route has changed due to a high number of entries. The parade will start on September 12, 2015 at 12:30pm. All DC Pet Parade participants should gather at 10th and Rhode Island Ave. NW, just to the left of Old City Farm and Guild, by noon to check in. All contest participants will gather back to the Parade start area for judging.

The parade will begin and end at 10th and Rhode Island Ave. NW at 12:30 pm. Please arrive for check in at 12:00 pm.

Leading the way as the Marshall on the parade route will be a CELEBRITY PET—stay tuned for more details.

Unfortunately, registration is closed. There is no fee to register, but you MUST have registered before September 1st in order to enter in contests. See below for specific rules and regulations from the DC government that participants must review  before the day of the Fair.

Everyone who participates in the Pet Parade will get a commemorative ribbon. There will also be contests with prizes for:

  • Pet/owner look-alike (non-costume)
  • Pet/owner look-alike (costume)
  • Best costume (animal only)

Don’t have a pet, or have space in your house and heart for more? The Washington DC Humane Society will be on site with lovable critters you can meet and adopt.


  1. If any prohibited animals such as livestock wish to participate in the parade then they require a Special Event/Exotic Animal Permit from the DC Department of Health. Requirements for Special Event/Exotic Animal Permit vary per species of animal therefore the participants with exotic animals must contact the DoH within 48 business hours of the event in order to attain their permit.
  2. All animals must be leashed and walked on no longer than a four foot lead.
  3. All dogs who are District residents must have a current DC Dog License.
  4. All dog participants must be current on Rabies and Distemper vaccines and owners must have vaccination paperwork onsite. Cats must be current on Rabies vaccine and owners must also have the current vaccination paperwork onsite.
  5. DC Animal Care and Control will be conducting random unannounced inspections and any animal found that is not in compliance with any of the District Animal Control Codes run the risk of impoundment at the owner’s expense and or dismissal from the District.

After the parade, you are invited to stay and participate in Fair and/or beer garden. Learn more about the 2015 DC State Fair contests and schedule.

Kids Art and Poetry Contest

First Place in the 2015 Kids' Art Contest.
First Place in the 2015 Kids’ Art Contest.

Thank you for your interest in the Kids’ Art and Poetry Contests! Read the contest guidelines below. This contest entry is a bit different from the others: To fill out an entry form and to turn in your artwork or poem, visit the Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St. NW) before the contest deadline.

DC State Fair is proud to host the 2015 Kids Art and Poetry Contests. All kids who live in the city of Washington DC and are entering prekindergarten through 9th grade are eligible to enter. The entry form must be filled out by a parent or guardian of the kid entering the contest.

The artwork can be in any form that the artist deems necessary. Paintings, drawings, dioramas, poems etc. are all welcome. Remember that there is no need to buy any special art supplies!

2015 Kids Art and Poetry Contest Guidelines

  1. Arts and Crafts can be 2 or 3 dimensional.
  2. Contest winners will be judged on:
    1. Creativity (40%)
    2. Originality (40%)
    3. Composition (20%)
  3. Kids may enter no more than one piece of art and one poem.

The entry must be dropped off at Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St. NW) on or before September 6th at 5pm.

More info:
DC State Fair will be held on Saturday, September 12, at Old City Farm and Guild (925 Rhode Island Ave NW) near Shaw metro.

Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library will be hosting a Sunday Art Day at 2-3pm on August 23rd, August 30th, and September 6 for kids interested in working on their artwork or poem at the library. We will supply crayons, markers, paper, scissors and colored pencils but you need to bring any specific materials that you’d like to include in your artwork.

The judging schedule will be available at www.dcstatefair.org/event-details in early September. Please pick up your entry after judging if possible. We ask that winning entries be on display until Fair closing at 8p.m., when they can be claimed if you agree to display your Kids’ entry.

There will be a prize for each age group and the winners may be displayed on the DC State Fair website as well as other Fair-related venues. All entries not picked up by the end of the event will become the property of the DC State Fair.

It’s Seedling Swappin’ Time

14187416789_fdf9e33413_zWhether you’ve got lettuce and tomatoes, chard or okra…you name it, you can swap it! It’s finally warming up in the District, and for us, that means it’s seedling swappin’ time!

If you have extra seedlings this year – or want to add variety to your garden – come out to the DC State Fair’s annual seedling swap on May 9th from 10am to 12pm at Old City Farm and Guild (925 Rhode Island Ave NW). The event is free and registration is not required. Just bring your seedlings and be prepared to trade them in for new varieties.

Don’t have extra seedlings to swap? No problem. You can stop by and grab any additional seedlings left un-swapped or buy seedlings from Old City Farm and Guild.

We look forward to seeing you at the Seedling Swap!

Click HERE to view photos from last year’s Seedling Swap.