Class is Open
Show off your talents at the county fair!
If you’ve ever wandered through the exhibit buildings at the Bonner County Fair, and gazed at the variety of handicrafts on display, you might have wondered where it all comes from. For those not already in the know, the flower displays, photographs, quilts, canned goods and other items aren’t the work of the area’s professionals—they’re the result of the hard work and talent of your friends and neighbors, who take the opportunity every August to show off their abilities in the Open Class category of exhibits.
Do you have a recipe for the best refrigerator pickles, or a talent with the crochet hook? To put your work to the test, pick up a copy of the fairbook, which should be available all over the county by the time this issue goes to press, or stop by the fair office at the fairgrounds for a copy, and check out the voluminous amount of categories where you can exhibit your work, and the rules for entering that are listed inside. (One important rule - what you enter must have been created in the last year.)
Flower arrangements, fermented beverages, home grown fruits and more are among the many categories for entry, including quite a few you may not have thought of. Put those veggies together in a creative way and enter the “odyssey creature” contest, or display your home-grown robot creation. There’s even creative writing categories, where you can enter your songs and lyrics, your comic book creation, or even an “interview” with a person from history or a character from literature.
“We have a category for computer design,” explained fair manager Rhonda Livingstone, “and this year we’re encouraging people to enter their design for a smart phone app.” With creations from computer and other media, you can expect to see website designs, posters and, if Rhonda gets her wish, “videos would be cool.”
The robots are pretty cool themselves, and other categories for entry include earth/space, electricity and biochemistry. Budding scientists, now’s your chance to show your county what you can do!
Back this year will also be the “photo assignment” competition. Instead of (or in addition to) prepping photos before fair, interested photographers can draw an assignment from the can at the fairgrounds (for example, fair food), then head out to take (digital) pictures, returning them to the fair office where fans can vote for the best on Facebook.
Of course, more traditional farm-type entries are also a part of the open class exhibits—who hasn’t felt a sense of awe at the display of incredibly handicrafted quilts hanging from the ceiling each year?—and regardless of your talent, there’s likely an entry category for you to fill.
Do you make soap? Check. Cheese? Check. Produce the best compost in the neighborhood? Enter all these and more for judging by your peers.
Kitchen products are always a big favorite and the competition can be fierce—often, even within families. In fact, my daughter Misty and I might just have to enter again this year given our fair-based bake-off ended with blue ribbons for us both (she for her lemon squares and me for... I can’t quite remember. Was it pound cake?)
Flower arrangements are another popular category, as is just about anything you can grow in your garden and harvest right around fair time.
And don’t forget your critters. From chickens to rabbits to your prize cow, there are Open Class categories for all your farm (or backyard) animals.
So stop by the fairgrounds, read up on the classes, and put your best to the test at the Bonner County Fair this August!
Misty’s Blue-Ribbon Lemon Squares
1 cu. flour
1/2 cu. oleo
1/4 cu. powdered sugar
1 cu. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBL. lemon juice
Mix together flour, oleo and powdered sugar; press into a rectangular cake pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over the top of already cooked ‘crust.’ Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes. The bars firm as they cool. Top with powdered sugar when cooled, and cut into squares.
Note: Misty didn’t create this recipe; we’re not sure where, exactly, it came from. But you don’t have to create the recipe to enter the results at the fair. The photo is courtesy Wikimedia Commons.