How to Win First Prize at the County Fair

| 8/5/2016 11:30:00 AM

Tags: county fairs, vegetable gardening, Don Abbott, Ohio,

Zucchini Winner

As a teenager, I raised rabbits for 4-H. Every year we would enter them in the local county fair. They would be judged and I would receive ribbons and trophies. I still remember the “Best Opposite Sex” and “Best Doe and Litter” trophies I won. I learned many lessons by showing my bunnies.

One is that you can’t display your ribbons on the cage’s outside as the rabbits will eat them (munch munch munch). Second, rabbits moved to a new strange home with lots of people and animals will get stressed and bite (right on the fleshy area between the thumb and pointer finger). Lastly, and most importantly, competition helps you to strive to be better.

A few years ago, we decided to enter some of our produce into our local fair. The Portage County Ohio fair (also known as the Randolph Fair, because that’s the township/city where the grounds are) is pretty standard as far as fairs go. There are demolition derbies, country/western concerts, tractor pulls, 4-H exhibits, fair food (which is really unfair if you are trying to eat healthy), and local vendor displays.

Of course, entering vegetables, canned goods, and photos does feel a little childish but these are in adult categories, so maybe not. And with the adult entries is prize money (enough to pay for your $5 admission to see whether you won or not).

It’s Better to Look Good Than Feel Good

Most judging is done on how the entries look. Some canned goods and baked goods will be taste tested but vegetables will not. So how do they determine who’s the best? By what I call the “supermarket test”: If your entries look like you bought them from the store, then you’ll win. Just don’t enter purchased produce. That’s called “cheating” (I’m sure you’ve heard of it).

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