It is West End Fair week in Monroe County, PA, providing evidence that the farm culture is alive and well in the part of the world I now call home. The mural on the building housing the flower exhibits declares, "The Earth Laughs in Flowers," -- Ralph Waldo Emerson. The quotation is in English and in Pennsylvania German, usually called Pennsylvania Dutch, reflecting the heritage of this region. The language was brought to PA by immigrants from SW Germany and Switzerland between 1750 and 1815. The fair was born in 1920 with the purpose of holding an annual display of farming products. Today, it is so much more: exhibits of flowers and vegetables, home-made goods, farm animals, children's activities, carnival rides, chainsaw carving, tractor pulls and demolition derbies, concerts, and vendors of everything from furniture to food. Oh yes, the food is great! "The West End Fair is a fine, old-fashioned annual community event " said yesterday's editorial in the Pocono Record. So very true.
I'm happy to be part of the fun again this year although it entails a lot of work. I was fortunate to have the help of grandson, Jon, again. He is a teenager now, so I'm pleased he still wanted to assist me. We entered twenty-eight flowers and herbs, one vegetable (beets) and our pickled beets in the canned goods section. Of our thirty entries, twenty-nine received awards, with six blue ribbons including a 'Best of Show' plus twelve second place ribbons. Three of our flower entries were 'shelf displays.' These are small displays to fit on a shelf no larger than 12'' deep x18" wide. Each display must include at least three items one of which must be an arrangement of fresh flowers. Jon and I chose three categories: Ethnic Display, Patriotic and Nursery Rhyme. The shelf displays are the most fun for us.
|One area of shelf displays. There is always a lot of competition.|
|Our 'Ethnic' display celebrated Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday. It took 2nd place.|
Gold flowers for the ethnic display: zinnias, marigolds and rudbeckia
|First place for our 'Patriotic' shelf display.|
Red, white and blue flowers of course for the patriotic category: red zinnias, red snapdragons, white phlox, white yarrow 'the pearl,' and blue lobelia.
For the nursery rhyme display we chose Old Mother Hubbard which was very appropriate as my name is Hubbard (I'm New Mother Hubbard, however.) We named the dog 'Duke,' printing it on his kerchief and on his dog dish. The local residents who grew up with my husband enjoyed this as H.H.'s nickname is 'Duke.' By the way, the judges don't know the names of any entrants when they are judging. Old Mother Hubbard took 'Best of Show.'
|Nursery Rhyme Display: Old Mother Hubbard.|
Mixed colors: zinnias, campanula, mint, petunias in a 'doggy' mug given to H.H. by grandson, Mateo, last Christmas.
In the 'specimen flowers' categories, Hydrangea 'Pinkie Winkie' took a blue ribbon for a second year.
|Hydrangea 'Pinkie Winkie'|
|'Pinkie Winkie's' blossom is white, gradually turning pink as the summer progresses. I entered it as a pink hydrangea.|
|I started gaillardia from seed (indoors) for the first time this year. I'm pleased it took second place.|
|White phlox also took second place.|
We had a very hot summer with long periods without rain and I was away from home on three occasions for as much as a week at a time. While I have a quantity of vegetables, Jon and I decided the quality just isn't there this year. We entered red beets, of course, and they took a third place.
|Lots of competition in the vegetable section. Our beets are third from the left on the bottom.|
In the herbs section, my borage, sweet woodruff and yarrow 'the pearl' took first places.
|How I love borage and it didn't let me down.|
|Borage against the picket fence in the kitchen garden.|
Jon and I examined all the exhibits and decided this scarecrow was our favorite:
Finally, as always the Monroe County master gardeners did a wonderful display that took first place in its category. Here is just a small corner of it ...
The West End Fair has a website for more information. Click here. You can read my postings about previous fairs by clicking the year:
The weather is beautiful and I'm missing another great Fair day. Must dash.
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