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.

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


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.

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 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


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 http://www.washhumane.org.