Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seasonal Celebrations -- At the Fair

My "Tea Time" Shelf Display with zinnias took a blue ribbon at the fair.
We love to celebrate the end of summer by attending our local fair. It is a week-long event that has everything a country fair should have, including farm animals, tractor pulls, country-and-western bands, rides, all sorts of vendors, plus vegetable, fruit, and flower competitions. Most important, the local churches and fire departments have food stands offering delicious food which is the best reason for going to the fair. H.H. has looked forward to the West End Fair every year of his life, even though when he was young its arrival meant that a new school year would soon begin. As a transplant, it fascinates me because  there was nothing like it where I grew up in England.

Last year, for the first time, I entered a few of my flowers, vegetables, and herbs. I blogged about it here. I was ecstatic to be awarded some ribbons, so I entered more items this year. It was a lot of work, but my ten-year-old grandson helped and we were rewarded with five first-place ribbons, six second-place ribbons, and several thirds and fourths!

My grandson prepared the jars for transporting flowers and herbs to the fair.
I entered yarrow, butterfly bush, marigolds, lemon balm, nasturtium, verbina, and coleus to name but a few. There are specific rules for the type of container and the number of flowers in each. My grandson enjoyed filling the jars with water, covering them with foil secured with rubber bands. The rules require one, three, or five specimens of each flower, herb, or veg. depending upon the plant.  My grandson picked beets and chose the best five. I told him last year I was a awarded a blue ribbon for my beets. He was hoping for a repeat performance.

In addition to submitting specific plants, I entered a floor display and two shelf displays.  I picked zinnias for two of my displays and globe amaranth for the other.

I grow zinnias from seed every year. They are my favorite annual.
When we arrived at the fair, my grandson helped me arrange my displays.

"School Days" Floor Display
The misspelling on the the label made it look more authentically written by a young child.
The label says "For Techer" - spelt wrong intentionally by my grandson.
"School Days" shelf display.
Globe Amaranth
When we finished arranging the displays and registering flowers, we headed over to the building where vegetables and herbs were to be judged.

My grandson arranged the beets to the best advantage for the judges.
We set up all the entries on Saturday, the buildings were closed Sunday for judging, and we had to wait until Monday noon to see if we had won any ribbons. We arrived at the fair as the gates opened and my grandson ran from entry to entry looking for ribbons. I took a blue ribbon for the floor display and for "Tea Time" (pictured at the beginning of this posting) and a red ribbon for the "School Days" shelf display!

All my other entries, except two, received ribbons. Here are just a few ...

Yarrow Achillea ptarmica "The Pearl"

My marigolds were awarded second place.

Butterfly Bush Buddleja davidii (often spelled Buddleia)
To my grandson's great delight, 'his' beets took first place! He was so excited and phoned his mother immediately with the news. I think we have a budding gardener there!

Our West End Fair is a tradition, since 1920, marking the end of summer. This community event provides an opportunity to celebrate the results of a summer's hard work in the garden and to welcome autumn.

I am joining Donna at Garden's Eye View for her Seasonal Celebrations meme. Do go over to her blog and see the wonderful fruits of her labor.

As Donna says, autumn is knocking on our door here in the northeast United States, so I wish you a very happy fall in your garden!

Pamela x

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  1. Pam I am most impressed by your grandson, he has been helping you so good, and won a first prize with his beetroots. That is promising for the future it looks as if he will be an enthousiastIc gardener. Interesting to read about a local fair on the other end of the world and yes, of course I love your tea display too.

  2. You and your grandson created wonderful entries worthy of ribbons. Fairs are such a fun family event at this time of year. I never enter, but have been a judge a few times. I enjoy seeing the kids have a good time.

  3. Congratulations on your ribbons, and how rewarding it must be to have your grandson there as your helper! Your zinnias add such nice color to the charming displays. I really must plant more zinnias next year!

  4. Fantastic results, and your grandson certainly deserved first place for his beetroot. There's definitely a gardener in the making there.

  5. Oh Pam what a perfect Seasonal Celebrations post!! I miss the County Fairs of my childhood. We do not have one because we host the State Fair. But I prefer the smaller county fairs. Look at all those ribbons. I love them all especially the school themed display.

    Thanks for contributing to the meme Pam. I hope one day to visit your gardens!

  6. Congratulations on your results, to both you and your grandson! I have never been to a country fair, I think they are pretty common throughout countryside England but not so much in the cities and certainly not here in East London where I live. Your displays look very nice and pretty, your grandson is very lucky to grow up doing gardening together with you. I hope one day, when I get grandchildren too, also to get the chance to pass on the gardening ‘bug’.

  7. Congratulations to you and your grandson - what a great bonding experience!

    I like the tea-time display, it really shows off your english heritage.

    These kinds of events are run by the Women's Institute in the UK.

  8. Pam, your garden is so very beautiful. One thing that caught my eye in an earlier post was your Sedum Autumn Joy. I cannot get mine to look like that! Anyway, congratulations on your wins at the Fair, and to the little lad as well--a budding gardener. Is that a Border Collie I see? Susan (

  9. Congratulations!
    Lovely to see your grandson's concentrated enthusiasm.