Creek County Master Gardner: Entering the Fair

Kathy Berryhill
Creek County Master Gardener

Have you considered entering the upcoming fair? Gardeners take great pride in the fruits, vegetables and flowers that we grow. We usually have our favorites that perform well. The Creek County Free Fair (Sept. 21-24, 2023) has 2 divisions that local gardeners can compete in to win ribbons and premiums (cash awards).
Division #10 (Open Horticulture) and Division #21 (Flower Show) are open to amateur gardeners that reside in Creek County. Specific guidelines are in place for each entry and can be found at https://creekcountyfairgrounds.com/pdf/2023/july/2023%20Fair%20Tab.pdf. Division #10 rules are found at the bottom of Pg. 24, while Division #21 rules begin on Pg. 106. The rules can be daunting, but hopefully the following explanation will tempt you to join in the fun!
Entry Day: Open Class Horticulture (Division #10) and Flower Show (Division #21) entries must be submitted on Tuesday, Sept 19 between 3PM-7PM. Bring entries to the Banquet Hall (west front building). Fill out an entry tag (provided) with your contact information, Division Number (10 or 21), Class Number and Entry Name (plant or flower name). This information is contained in the above link and will be available at the entry table. MGs will be on hand to provide assistance with entry tags. If you are entering multiple exhibits, self-adhesive address labels are a time saver.
Select entries carefully as those that don’t meet the standards for exhibition may be rejected. Also, an exhibitor may only enter one entry per class, but they may submit entries in multiple classes. Example: An exhibitor may enter Class #40 (small zinnia) and Class #41 (large zinnia) but may not enter 2 entries in Class #40 (small zinnia). Entries must be submitted in person by the gardener.
Flower Show: Gardeners may bring stemmed flowers in any container, but flower stems will be transferred to a provided water bottle. Be mindful of the amount of a plant to enter as Official Rules determine class variety, bloom size and the amount to enter. Example: Class #20 (single bloom rose) directions specify to enter 1 stem. Potted plant entries must have a base less than 12” and must weigh less than 10 pounds to be accepted. A fun new class this year is Class #44: Multiple Variety Bouquet (2” vase opening or less).
Open Horticulture – Vegetables: The Official Rules specify the vegetable variety. Each vegetable class requires a specific amount of the entry. Example: Class #14 (Summer Squash) specifies that 2 squash must be entered while Class #20 (Okra) asks for 6 table size Okra.
Judging will take place by an independent judge on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (All decisions are final). Exhibitors may come and see just what it takes to win a ribbon beginning Thursday, Sept. 21 at 8 AM. Hopefully, it will be one of your entries. Entries must remain in place until 3 PM on Sunday, Sept 24th.
Premiums (cash awards) are as follows: 1st ($5), 2nd ($4) and 3rd ($2). Premium checks must be picked up on Sunday, Sept 24th between 3PM-5PM at the back of the Exhibit Hall. Entries may be taken home at that time. The Official Rules may be daunting the first year, but keep in mind the goal is to educate gardeners on good growing practices, and to encourage sharing of information which benefits all. Hope to see you at this year’s Creek County Free Fair!

Images: 

1) MGs will be available to receive entries. Sonya Sheffel (L) Paula Strain (R)

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2) Blue Ribbon Bell Peppers
3) Blue Ribbon Rose

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