Thanks for a great Fair!

Thank you to everyone who came out today to celebrate DC talent at the DC State Fair in the heart of the Barracks Row Fall Festival. And congratulations to the winners of all 19 contests!

Want to relive the day or catch up on the events? Our fourth annual Fair is all over social media — both in words and pictures. Take your pick:

A special thank you goes out to our contest coordinators, judges, and volunteers. You made it all possible!


2013 contest registration now open

Pies await judging in one of the DC State Fair’s most popular contests.

Ready? Set? Enter!

DC State Fair contest registration is now open. Whether you plan to enter our artistic, crafty or culinary contests, you can start the entry process on the 2013 Contests page. There, you can find links to entry forms with contest rules and deadlines.

Deadlines for canned and baked goods fall in mid-September, so be sure to register soon.

The drop-off and judging schedule will be published on the Event Details page in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out there and in the State of the Fair Newsletter for more information.

We look forward to seeing you and announcing the big winners at the Fair on Saturday, September 28.

Good luck, exhibitors!

Kickstarter goal reached!

Photo by Flickr user Mickebear
Photo by Flickr user Mickebear

It’s time to celebrate! Thanks to dedicated DC State Fair supporters — including readers like you — our Kickstarter fundraiser reached its goal on August 31. That night, fundraising chair Amelia Showalter sent the following message to contributors:

Wow! The DC State Fair Kickstarter is done. Thanks to you, it was a success! In the next few days we’ll be mailing out surveys to collect the information we need to send you your reward (mailing address, tshirt sizes, etc). So keep an eye on your inbox for one more Kickstarter email.

On behalf of everyone who works so hard to make DC State Fair happen, I want to express how truly grateful we are for the community’s support during this Kickstarter campaign. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much. Not only did we reach our initial goal of $3500, but we even reached our second goal of $5000 just before the Kickstarter ended tonight. Continue reading “Kickstarter goal reached!”

Check Out Those Seedlings!

people kneel with plants
Swappers make their selections. Photo by Emily Citkowski.

The third annual DC State Fair Seedling Swap on May 5 at the Center for Green Urbanism was a great success. While we plan to rock the District with our fourth DC State Fair on September 28 at the Barracks Row Fall Festival, we aren’t content to sit around until then. This event was the first of several leading up to the big event.

Read on to relive the fun (and get tips for your seedlings) if you were there, and to catch up if you missed it. Continue reading “Check Out Those Seedlings!”

Seedling Swap Preview

What are people bringing to the Seedling Swap on Sunday?

Seedling Donations

Well, some seedlings are ready to go, donated by Neighborhood Farm Initiative, the DC community-focused urban agriculture organization, and Old City Farm & Guild, the new incarnation of one of DC’s best local garden centers.

For your chance at the peanut, lemongrass, Japanese eggplant, strawberries, cucumbers, and so much more, get to the DC State Fair Seedling Swap at 2 PM sharp on Sunday! You can bring seedlings you started yourself; seedlings you bought at Old City Farm & Guild, at Neighborhood Farm Initiative’s seedling sales, or at your local farmers’ market; or no seedlings at all–we’ll have plenty for both new and experienced gardeners to walk home with!

We’re happy to have our sponsors Healthy Affordable Food for All (HAFA) and Whole Foods Market P Street with the Swap as well!

There will be demonstrations, seedlings for sale (for those things you didn’t grab during the swap), and more.

Get more details about the swap and directions to the event by clicking here

See you on Sunday!

What to bring to a seedling swap

woman in scuba gear
Photo by Flickr user Chadica

Overalls? A prom dress? Scuba gear? Sure, wear ’em all. It’s not so much about how you gussy up for the DC State Fair Seedling Swap, but what you bring.

Here’s what we suggest:

Seedlings you’ve grown or bought (although if you don’t have any, you are still very welcome to come!), labeled with at the very least plant name and variety (growing info would be great, too!)

Some tips to share about how to grow the seedlings you’re bringing

1 cardboard box or tray big enough to hold at least 4 to 6 seedlings–bring several in case you walk home with more

1 notebook to record ideas, stash instructions on building a raised bed, and jot down the contact info of your new gardener friends

Your phone with camera and Twitter to share the event using the #seedlingswap hashtag

1 Rubbermaid-style 5-gallon plastic bin to make a worm bin

1 old shoe to grow a sunflower

Cash for contributions and purchasing unique seedlings and plant starts (ginger, turmeric, and more!) from Three Part Harmony Farm

Questions? E-mail us. See you there!

Announcing DCSF’s Third Annual Seedling Swap

What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than by joining DC State Fair at our third annual seedling swap!

We’ll be out at the Center for Green Urbanism from 2 to 4 PM on Sunday, May 5, with dozens of DC-area gardeners to share seedlings, gardening tips, demonstrations, and more to kick off the summer planting season.

2012 DC State Fair Seedling Swap
Swappers check the seedlings on offer at the 2012 Seedling Swap.

Be sure to show up on time to get your chance to walk home with the seedlings you want, and plan on spending the afternoon learning about gardening in DC.

[UPDATE:]Many thanks to our partner and sponsor: Healthy & Affordable Food for All and Whole Foods P Street! Continue reading “Announcing DCSF’s Third Annual Seedling Swap”

Starting Seeds

Many gardeners started their summer crops back in February–tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, and more can be started indoors early to get a head start on the season.

If you have some seeds but didn’t have time this winter to start them, there are still things you can start to share with swappers at our Third Annual Seedling Swap on Sunday, May 5!


You can probably start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants to share for May 5–they’ll be small, but other gardeners might just love to have what you are growing!

If you have toilet paper or paper towel rolls, or even newspaper, you can turn these into little pots to start your beans, corn, cucumbers, watermelons, peanuts, squash, pumpkins, zucchini, and more! These seeds germinate and grow quickly but don’t like their roots disturbed (like when transplanting). But if you make pots out of paper towel rolls or newspaper, fill them with seed-starting mix, and plant your favorite pumpkin seed to share at the swap, you will have nice seedlings to share in May and the pots can be planted whole directly in the ground!

Remember to give your seedlings plenty of light, warmth, and water. Visit the University of Maryland Extension Office’s Home and Garden Information Center for mid-Atlantic gardening tips, including seed starting and transplanting.

The gardening fellows at Hudson Valley Seed Library have a six-part seed-starting and -transplanting series (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6)–these posts are a great educational resource for both new and experienced gardeners.

Competition on 8th Street to stardom on P Street

The five Meet the Sweets participants stand by a sign at the P Street Whole Foods.
The five Meet the Sweets participants stand by a sign at P Street Whole Foods.

In December 2012, DC State Fair sponsor Whole Foods P Street put out the red carpet for our pie and cupcake winners. A team led by Daniel Thaeler transformed the store into an ode to some of D.C.’s best bakers, designing profiles and recipe cards for each baker and confection, and inviting the winners to share samples.

The people who went from Fair contestants on 8th Street to stardom on P Street included (pictured from left):

Best Cupcake: Esther Ventus with the Juan Carlos Cupcake, a chocolate-raspberry creation

Most Creative Pie: Frank Asher and Sarah McLaughlin with Vegan Pot Pie

Best Apple Pie: Megan McConville with her Classic Double Crusted Apple Pie

Most Creative Cupcake: Heidi Goldberg with The Sweet and Salty, a sweet potato cupcake with salted caramel buttercream

(More photos after the jump!) Continue reading “Competition on 8th Street to stardom on P Street”

Winner spotlight: Sophia Diggs-Galligan

Meet Sophia Diggs-Galligan. She garnered both a Kids Poetry Contest first place ribbon for her age group and the first place prize over all for her poem “The Farmer.”

For this very first DC State Fair Kids Poetry Contest, youngsters in first through seventh grade from all over the city submitted their poetry on the topic of vegetables or gardens. We were stunned by everyone’s creativity. The final (and difficult) selection fell to our panel of esteemed judges.

The video shows Sophia reading her poem and keeping tremendous poise among the hubbub of the fair. Microphone assistance came from Kid Power‘s Grant Elliott and American Sign Language interpretation was courtesy of Birnbaum Interpreting Services. A transcript of the poem follows the jump. Continue reading “Winner spotlight: Sophia Diggs-Galligan”