Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Highlights of a Country Fair

With the help of my eleven-year-old grandson, Jon, I took 12 first place ribbons at the West End Fair this year. In fact I was awarded a ribbon for every one of my 28 entries. On the day we took the specimens to the fair, it rained and rained. Nevertheless, we were out in the garden early with Jon holding the umbrella over me while we debated the best blooms, vegetables, and herbs to pick. What would I have done without him? The process took several hours and we were MISERABLY wet. Like last year, Jon arrived the day before to help me prepare. Click here to see how he prepped the jars.

The West End Fair committee issues a 'premium' book each year with specific instructions. For example, under the general instructions for HERBS it states:
  • Specimen and container shall be clean, with insect damaged, dead or faded blooms/leaves removed.
  • Judging shall be on the basis of quality. Judges shall consider condition and presentation.
  • Fragrance and/or flavor characteristics of herb shall be important factors.
  • All entries must be grown by the exhibitor.
Under FRESH GREEN HERBS it specifies:
  • Three stems uniform in size and conformation.
  • Submitted in a clear container suited to the size of specimen. Remove leaves below water level.
  • Herbs may be shown with leaves and flowers and/or fresh seeds.
We followed the rules and were duly rewarded.
Lemon Balm with blue ribbon.

I grew borage for the first time this year and it did quite well with a second place. My reliable yarrow 'The Pearl' was included in the herb category and, like last year, earned a blue ribbon. My nasturtium also won a first place.

Borage, starflower

Achillea The Pearl (Achillea ptarmica).

Nasturtium beginning to droop by the time I took the picture.

In the perennial section my clematis, hydrangea, Russian sage, and shasta daisy each pulled a blue ribbon.

Amazing that I still had a clematis in bloom.

Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky"

Leucanthemum x superbum, commonly called Shasta daisy.
Among the annuals, the wonderful cleome that is so prolific in my garden this year netted a blue ribbon and so did my double marigold.

I used the marigolds and some orange zinnias in a shelf display 'School Days'. Jon enjoys the shelf and floor displays the most. He arranged the items to their best advantage and we got a first, third, and fourth.

Shelf Display theme 'School Days'

Floor display theme 'Tea Time' -- the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

"Look, it's a dormouse."

And the first place went to ...

Shelf display 'Nursery Rhymes'.

Blue mist flower, shasta daisies, yarrow 'the pearl,' and geranium, 'Rozanne'

There is so much more to see at the fair. We watched chicks hatch in the 4H building, and patted baby animals. We admired cattle and horses including some delightful minis. (I told Dude, my mini, all about them on our return.)

Welcome to the World.

We sampled delicious fair food, listened to a country and western band on the main stage, and Jon was rewarded with a wrist band giving him unlimited rides! He deserved it.

I am glad to say there was no rain during the week the fair was open.

The West End Fair marks the unofficial end of summer here. Schools opened today. I am linking with Donna at Gardens Eye View for her 'Seasonal Celebrations' meme, as I did last year. Although this is a repeat, Donna, I can't think of a better way to celebrate the changes!

Enjoy your gardens, dear friends, as we celebrate this new season.
Pamela x

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  1. Pam, congratulations to you, Duane, and Jonathan. Look at all those ribbons!! Your displays are so cute. :-)

  2. Congratulations to you and Jon! What a nice grandmother-grandson activity--surely he'll keep these memories for the rest of his life.

    I've never entered anything in it, but my kids and I enjoy going through the display buildings at the Wayne County Fair earlier in August each year. It's best to go in the opening days, though, because things do start to look a bit bedraggled after a few days! We particularly enjoy the category called "Mr. Potato Head", in which people create faces or scenes using vegetables and other organic material. My daughter once made a Spaghetti Monster, using a spaghetti squash as the head. She won a blue ribbon for it!

    Again, congratulations for all of those ribbons!

  3. Congratulations on all the blue ribbons to you and Jon!

  4. Wow! Such success, very well done to both you and Jon, I can see what a help he is to you. These are the kind of fairs I love, a little bit of everything and something for everyone.

  5. I still remember your post on this fair of last year. It is so nice to be able to do this with your grandson. Congratulations to both of you on all the blue ribbons.

  6. Wow! Congratulations ... you look like you swept the board ! It seems like such a lovely traditional fair - and how lovely to be able to enjoy it with your helpful grandson!!

  7. What a great job, congratulations to all of you! It sounds like you really made a great time of it.
    We went up to the Harford Fair a few weeks ago and the kids were asking if we could go again the next day. I felt like we should have been doing this stuff all summer, but it goes so fast.

  8. Oh Pam I adore your Fair posts. I really admire you for entering so many flowers and displays...so much creativity and beauty. We have the State Fair here and as it is the largest in the US it is overwhelming to enter anything. I used to love to enter cookies and sewing projects I did in 4H at the county fair in Indiana.

    Thanks for linking in Pam and I hope to see your Fair post yearly in my celebration.

  9. Congratulations to you and your grandson! So many well deserved ribbons! I especially like your shelf displays. Those 'Rozanne' geraniums are always winners in my book!

  10. Good for you! I can see why you had so many winners. Those shelves are adorable. What a great idea to create a theme. Love that your grandson helped out, he's a good sport.

  11. Congratulations on your sweep!!