Join us at Eastern Market on April 25th

We’ll be right behind Frager’s Lawn and Garden, near 7th & C

It’s never too early to start thinking about the DC State Fair! To get the word out to home growers, bakers, brewers, and Fair-lovers, we’ll have a table set up at Eastern Market on Saturday, April 25, from 9:00 am. to 4:00 pm.

Come show the Fair some love!

Stop by to pick up free seeds for your garden or use them to grow seedlings to exchange at our upcoming Seedling Swap.

We’ll also be hosting a composting demo at 2:30 pm. Even urban gardeners with limited space can adopt these easy techniques to enrich garden soil while reducing food waste.

There’ll also be DC State Fair merchandise for sale, flyers you can pick up to share with friends and neighbors, and the opportunity to give us your input on what you’d like to see at this year’s Fair.

We will see you there!

Join DC State Fair Board of Directors

Board members Anna and  Torrance having a blast at the 2014 Fair.
Board members Anna and Torrance having a blast at the 2014 Fair.

We are seeking two new members of DC State Fair’s 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 (application info below).

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 2015 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 or February 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 (three members will finish their first year as the other two finish their second).

To apply, please e-mail your resume and a letter of intent to The deadline to apply is January 30, 2015.

Come One, Come All to the 5th Annual DC State Fair

7530239486_d09e9ca10f_bCome one, come all to the 5th Annual DC State Fair!

Contestants are gearing up for competition and putting their game faces on. Their jams and jellies are packed away waiting to be tasted, delicious ice cream is cooling in the freezer, and fruits and veggies are scrubbed up, ready for competition.

Now it’s up to you to come, see the judges in action, enjoy some good DC cookin’, shop for local art and end the day with a drink in our Biergarten. Have kids? Bring them to the Kids Corner where they’ll be entertained for hours.

Don’t forget to invite your friends! And if they ask, “What? DC has a state fair?” tell them it’s true! DC’s had a Fair for five years and it truly is a showcase of the artistic, culinary and agricultural talent that resides in DC.

A big thanks to our sponsors, judges and volunteers, for without them, the event wouldn’t be happening tomorrow from 12 to 7 at Old City Farm and Guild.

Let There Be Beer!

For the first time in its history, the DC State Fair will be able to showcase local beer and other local drinks as part of the Fair’s activities.

Photo courtesy Union Kitchen.
Photo courtesy Union Kitchen.

A Biergarten will be open at the fairgrounds from 3 to 7 pm this Saturday, thanks to sponsorship by Union Kitchen. DC Brau, as well as wine, Bourbon & Byrd spirits and other specialty cocktails/mocktails will be sold at the Biergarten.

If you’re not a beer drinker, the Biergarten will be serving cocktails, such as the Bourbon & Byrd. It’s a refreshing drink of bourbon mixed with Runningbyrd Tea, the latter of which is crafted at Union Kitchen.

But we all know, it wouldn’t be a Biergarten without the brews. And DC Brau, Washington, D.C.’s first packaging brewery since 1956, will be selling a variety owif their award nning beers. The brewery opened in 2009 and is located in Northeast D.C.

“Buying local has so many upsides! Not only does it help stir the local economy by creating jobs and keeping food production within our city, it’s amazing to be in direct contact with the people making your food (and other locally made products),” says Gauri Sarin, co-owner and director of catering and special events for Union Kitchen. “It’s all about creating a community.”

Union Kitchen, located in Northeast D.C., is a food startup incubator. Numerous small businesses, such as Fair sponsors Thunder Beast, Tres Creole and Whisked, have had their start in the Kitchen’s 7,300 square foot warehouse.

IDs will be checked at the entrance to the Biergarten and over-21 guests will receive a wristband. Pricing will be between $5-7 for all alcoholic beverages. Tickets will be sold at the entrance that can be used to redeem for drinks at the bar.

Quick Change for Flower Arranging!

We’ve been taking a look for the rules on the Mason Jar Flower Arranging competition and we need to change one of the requirements.

Instead of flowers having to be grown in the District, they have to be purchased in the District. We’d prefer if you bought from local markets and farms. Extra points will be awarded to flowers grown in D.C., but it is no longer a requirement.

There is no entry deadline for this competition, but we highly recommend you fill out the form before dropping off your entry at the Fair this Saturday.



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

Food Safety is the Name of the Game at the Fair

7530239226_fc09ed7e51_oWhether you’re canning jams and jellies, fermenting veggies or pickling foods for the Fair, food safety should be the name of the game. And this year, DC State Fair expects the best of the best when it comes to preserved foods; not only in taste and texture but in the quality of the product.

Humans have been canning food since the late 18th century when Napoleon Bonaparte asked for a solution to the navy’s food spoilage problems. And they have been fermenting foods since 7000 BC when they discovered that they could ferment fruit, rice and honey to produce alcoholic beverages. Though these processes go back hundreds and thousands of years, proper procedures still must be taken today to ensure a product is safe to consume.

Unfortunately, if the preservation process is done incorrectly, harmful bacteria, fond of tightly packed food products, can grow in your food. That’s why it is important to follow proper procedures when preserving foods. If you are going to be involved in canning, pickling or fermenting foods this summer, consider reading up on safe processes and methods from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and University of Minnesota Extension.

And if you’re entering a fair contest, make sure to follow the following rules:

  1. All entries must be exhibited in clear glass, standard home-canning jars in half-pint (8 oz.), pint (16 oz) or quart (32 oz.) size. Products in fluted or blue-tinted jars will not be accepted. Use self-sealing jars only with two-piece metal canning lids (flat lid and band).
  2. The lid (not the glass) must be labeled with the product name and the date processed.
  3. All jars must be clean and have lids and bands free from mold and rust.
  4. All entries must have been processed after September 28, 2013. (No entries should have been canned prior to September 28, 2013.)
  5. All entries must be shelf-stable. Entries preserved in alcohol, entries that require refrigeration, fermented foods, unsealed jars, entries canned with paraffin, and entries that show signs of spoilage will not be accepted.

When you enter the jam & jelly, pickled foods and fermented vegetable contests, we ask that you do so, ready to use the utmost safety standards. Remember that the picked foods contest entry deadline is Sept 13th whereas the jam & jelly and fermented vegetable contests entry deadlines are Sept 15th.

The DC State Fair is proud to announce Whole Foods P Street and Tenleytown as our sponsors of the 2014 Pickling Contest! Winning entries using any ingredients purchased at Whole Foods Market (please provide a receipt when dropping off your entry) will be eligible to display their recipe at an upcoming event at a Whole Foods market in DC.