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Eighth Annual DC State Fair Comes to Southwest on September 24

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.

Winning Homebrew Release Party

Join the DC State Fair for the public release of two prize-winning District of Columbia homebrews!

DC State Fair Winning Homebrew Release Party V2.png

Our friends at The Public Option (1601 Rhode Island Ave. NE) have brewed tributes to two first-place winners from our 2016 Homebrew Contest, to be sold for a limited time at their brew pub. Visit The Public Option on Friday, August 25, between 6:30 and 9 p.m. to sip on a Deep Chocolate stout, savor a pre-Prohibition style 1913 Bottle Ale, or snack on a gourmet sloppy joe sandwich made and sold by NeatMeatDC. A portion of beer sales will support the 2017 DC State Fair, to be held Sunday, September 24, at Waterfront Station in Southwest DC.

Eventbrite - DC State Fair Winning Homebrew Release Party

Join the DC State Fair Board of Directors

You: A District of Columbia resident. Enthusiastic about Washington’s past, present, and future. Willing to speak to strangers and work with people of all kinds. Warm sense of humor, power to roll with the punches, and not afraid to invite all of your friends to like our page on Facebook. Willing to eat, sleep, and breathe all things DC State Fair during our busiest time of year.

Us: People of all ages, all backgrounds, and from neighborhoods across DC, who are committed to building community and letting the agricultural, culinary, and artistic talents of District residents shine. Respectful of tradition but open to new ideas. Consensus-seeking and collaboration-loving, but comfortable leading people and projects in a self-supervised environment.

Want to join us? We are seeking up to eight new board members! Applicants should be able and willing to commit to the work. Just what this position entails is described below.

kat-pancratz-petmc
Board member Lisa Scott emcees the Pet Parade. Image via Kat Pancratz/Capital Photography Center.

Responsibilities

The following duties are the responsibilities of the leaders of DC State Fair and may be performed primarily by board members: Guide the efforts of various committees and subcommittees (including the Communications, Community Outreach, Contest, Fundraising and Development, Logistics, Vendors and Volunteer committees); liaise with local businesses and organizations that complement and/or support the DC State Fair mission; ensure stable financial and legal standing (primarily performed by the Board’s CFO); offer programming and events throughout the year, in addition to the annual DC State Fair and potentially in collaboration with local businesses and organizations that complement and/or support the DC State Fair mission.

We tend to assign collaborative work according to board members’ skills and interests, but everyone is expected to pitch in when things need to get done. Sometimes, that means we reach beyond our comfort zone to handle new and unfamiliar duties. Tasks and responsibilities are varied. You might:

  • Write content for our social media accounts, website, and newsletter
  • Solicit sponsorships from local businesses
  • Recruit and coordinate volunteers
  • Recruit and coordinate vendors
  • Organize contests and line up volunteer judges
  • Create signage and site maps
  • Manage event logistics (e.g., stage, sound and tent set-up; trash collection; and permits)
  • Table at local events to build DC State Fair visibility
  • Work with community groups and nonprofit organizations to get DC residents engaged and excited about the Fair
  • Weigh in on and implement board decisions

Sound like fun? If so, you could be the person we’re looking for!

Board Member and Dog
Board member Pete Hammerle, Meghan Groob and Gus. Image via Barbara Gilbert/Capital Photography Center.

Time Commitment

New board members will begin to attend regular meetings in February, at which point members will take on intermittent committee assignments and/or responsibilities appropriate for their chosen role. From late spring through summer up until the annual DC State Fair takes place (usually in August/September), our work intensifies. Board members will be asked to make their greatest time commitments during this period. Time commitments can range from four to eight hours per week during the planning stages to 12+ hours per week as the annual event approaches, depending on a board member’s role and availability. These are strictly volunteer opportunities.

Term of Office

Board members serve two-year terms, with overlapping terms.

Hula Hoop Contest
Board member Kish Rusek emcees the Hula Hoop contest. Image via Julie Miller/Capital Photography Center.

About DC State Fair

The DC State Fair is a free showcase of the city’s agricultural and artistic talents. The main event features a full day of competitions, education, and entertainment, with local vendors on hand selling food, drinks, art, and crafts. The first DC State Fair was held on August 28, 2010. The DC State Fair is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization run entirely by volunteers.

To apply, please email a resume, a letter of intent and (if you prefer), one to two supporting documents (e.g., a letter of recommendation, documentation of community involvement, a poetic ode to the Fair) to thedcstatefair@gmail.com by midnight on February 1, 2017.

Seventh Annual DC State Fair To Be Held This Sunday

The seventh annual DC State Fair will be held this Sunday, August 28, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at NoMa Junction at Storey Park (1005 First Street NE). This free celebration of the District’s farmers, bakers, brewers and makers will see the return of more than a dozen classic contests, as well as new features: Bingo, live competitions and more performances from local artists than ever before.

“Growing in the city, growing the city and growing ourselves; as we become smarter citizens we cultivate a healthy urban economy,” said Robin-Eve Jasper, President of the NoMa BID and the NoMa Parks Foundation. The NoMa BID is a Gold Sponsor of the 2016 DC State Fair. Jasper added, “It only makes sense that NoMa, the city’s smartest and fastest-growing neighborhood, would have the pleasure of hosting the 2016 DC State Fair, celebrating DC’s artisans, artists and food.”

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Contests

Our contests for kids and adults highlight local talent and foster friendly competition among District residents. Several favorites have returned (including honey, homebrew, pickled foods, pie and the history-making Best Bud), and new contests have been added (including chili and mumbo sauce). For the first time, live competitions will encourage Fairgoers to get the recognition they deserve as the best hula hooper, sloppy Joe eater or dancer in town.

“What makes the DC State Fair special are the added bits of flair that are unique to our community,” said Sara Conklin, Contest Coordinator and member of the DC State Fair Board of Directors. “Not many fairs have a Mumbo Sauce Contest, a Best Tattoo Contest or performing step groups and ska bands. But we do! We recognize that aspects of traditional state fairs are popular and important, but we have combined these elements with DC-esque fun. There isn’t another Fair in the United States quite like ours, and that’s why people keep coming back year after year.”

Pet Parade

For the second year, friendly pets on leashes, in cages, in tanks or in aquariums are invited to march in our Pet Parade! Pets and their owners are encouraged to don costumes, enter our pet-themed contests and stick around after the parade to enjoy the rest of the Fair.

Don’t have a pet? Have room in your home and heart for one more? Wagtime and the Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal Rescue League will be on-site with lovable critters available for adoption.

Education, Entertainment and More 

Our event will be packed with activities and entertainment for everyone. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., our Kid’s Corner will feature free activities for kids. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., ourEducation Stage will feature talks on fall gardening, growing cannabis at home and more. And during the entire Fair, our Main Stage will feature live competitions and performances from local artists.

Talks and interactive demonstrations will be offered by Love & Carrots, ECO City Farms, Let’sGrowDC, DC By Foot, Tango Mercurio, DC Rawhides and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Performers will include DJ Fusion, Dance Place Step Team, Batala Washington, Crush Funk Brass Band and The Captivators.

Vendors and Exhibitors 

More than 35 food, drink, art and craft vendors will showcase and sell their wares at the Fair. Local businesses will offer apparel and accessories for people and pets, prints, posters, glassware, plants, gardening supplies and more. Close to 20 government agencies and nonprofit organizations will also exhibit at the Fair.

About

The DC State Fair is a free showcase of the city’s agricultural and artistic talents. The main event features a full day of competitions, education and entertainment, with local vendors on hand selling food, drinks, art and crafts. The first DC State Fair was held on August 28, 2010. The DC State Fair is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization run entirely by volunteers.

Questions? Contact us!

History-Making Best Bud Contest Returns to DC State Fair

The DC State Fair will once again honor the legalization of marijuana in the nation’s capital by inviting District of Columbia residents to enter their prized buds in the Fair’s second annual “Best Bud” cannabis contest.

Last year, the DC State Fair made history with its Best Bud contest, marking the first time a state fair had ever judged cannabis. National press and late-night talk show hosts took notice, and the Fair started a trend: this year, the Oregon State Fair will also host a cannabis competition! But the DC State Fair did it first, and is still doing it best.

bestbudcontest
A judge examines entries during the first round of the 2015 DC State Fair Best Bud contest. Photo by Joe Morcos.

Judging

Preliminary judging of the Best Bud contest will take place one week before the DC State Fair at a free event that will be open to contestants. Five finalists will be judged on five growing criteria (including sight, smell, touch, cure and trim) on the main stage of the Fair on August 28. Points will be deducted for evidence of pests.

Contest entries are limited to 100. Only District of Columbia residents aged 21 or older are permitted to enter and compete in the Best Bud contest. Cannabis industry professionals are excluded from the competition. Registration ends on August 18.

Judges will not consume cannabis. In accordance with current District of Columbia law, which prevents cannabis consumption at events to which the public is invited, cannabis consumption at the Fair is prohibited.

“We have seen a huge amount of new and experienced growers supporting cannabis gardening since the passage of Prop 71 in 2015,” said Chris Washburn, owner and founder of Let’sGrowDC, a District-based indoor urban gardening center. “Friendly local competition like we have here will surely push the quality and prevalence of high-grade cannabis throughout the District. Let’sGrowDC! is very excited to once again be a sponsor of the annual DC State Fair Best Bud contest.”

“The response to last year’s Best Bud contest was enormous, and fairgoers made it clear to us that they want the Best Bud contest to be a regular part of the DC State Fair,” said Jenn Nichols, president of the DC State Fair’s board of directors. “Local advocates have worked toward marijuana legalization for a long time, and now work continues to educate residents about their rights under the new legalization laws. Teaching District residents about sustainable, urban agriculture–in all its forms–is a big part of the DC State Fair’s mission, and recreational cannabis growers must master the same kinds of skills as urban farmers growing tomatoes and squash.”

Questions about the Best Bud Contest? Read the registration form or contact Jenn Nichols at jenn@thedcstatefair.org.

 

DC State Fair and Local Brewpub to Co-Host Homebrew Contest

The DC State Fair is proud to announce that our Homebrew Contest has returned with a new grand prize: Blue Ribbon recipes in each of five flavor categories will be brewed and served on tap at local brewpub The Public Option.

The Homebrew Contest has long been integral to our line-up, but this is the first time we have partnered with a brewpub to bring homebrewed batches of beer to life for the wider District of Columbia community.

DC State Fair Contests- Best Homebrew
Photo: fadetowhite/Flickr

Contest entries will be judged by local brewers and beer experts in five flavor profile categories, including: Hop; Malt; Roast, Smoke and Wood; Yeast; and Fruit and Spice.

First, second and third place winners will be chosen from each category. Best in Show will be selected from the pool of Blue Ribbon (first place) winners. Special recognition will also be given to beers brewed with homegrown ingredients.

A preliminary round of judging will take place on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, at 6 p.m. at The Public Option (1601 Rhode Island Ave. NE), and is open to the public. Final judging will take place at the Fair on August 28. A judging schedule will be posted on our website.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the DC State Fair,” said Bill Perry, founder of The Public Option. “I’m a product of the local home-brewing community myself, and am looking forward to bringing the winners’ beers to District residents.”

“The Fair’s mission is to help build connections among District residents by promoting their shared interests in local, do-it-yourself hobbies and activities,” said Jenn Nichols, President of the DC State Fair Board of Directors. “This year’s Homebrew Contest is a great example of how homegrown businesses can nurture DC residents’ creativity and foster community across the District.”

Questions about the Homebrew Contest? Read the registration form or contact Jenn Nichols at jenn@thedcstatefair.org.

Seed Share

Get your green thumb and garden beds ready for the seventh annual DC State Fair with a Seed Share on Saturday, May 21! Gardeners will be at Eastern Market (225 7th St. SE) between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to give away free seeds of all sorts (including flowers, vegetables and cannabis) and to answer all your gardening questions.  

DC State Fair Seed Share 3

Image by Oregon Department of Agriculture/Flickr

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.

Responsibilities
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 board@thedcstatefair.org. 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

Compost

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

Homebrew

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

Honey

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

Cucumber

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

Overall

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)