Toi Degree: Get ready to enter fair competitions

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 16, 2016

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Fair is quickly approaching, and many of you are making your final selection for fair entries.

A county fair wouldn’t be complete without the competition of pies, quilts, paintings and giant pumpkins. Every year, Rowan County residents come out to share items from their gardens, kitchens and imaginations; citizens of all ages come together to share their talents with fairgoers.

Enter into the competition to win a coveted blue ribbon. Here are tips to make that blue ribbon a reality.

What category will you enter items into? First things first — decide which category or categories you will enter items in. Remember that you can only enter one item per person per category. So that means just one apple butter jam for you in that particular category, but you many enter a grape or peach jam. The same item cannot compete for two or more premiums.

Review department instructions for entry. Now that you have decided the category you will enter, it’s time to study the instructions on how to enter the item.

Garments ask specifically that all entries have been created in the last year by the person entering the garment. The garment should be clean and entered on a swivel-neck hanger only.

This is by far the most important part of the process. This will determine how successful you will be in the category.

Points are given based on how well you do or do not follow instructions. Failure to follow instructions may result in points being deducted, so it is very important to study the instructions. This may even be the point where you decide that you can’t enter items in the category based on what they are requesting or based on the number of items that have to be entered.

The horticulture department also asks for a specific amount of items, usually five on a plate. So this year, your muscadine grapes did well and you’re thinking about entering them for the first time, but based on the instructions, one pint is the amount needed to enter. You don’t quite have enough, so you may need to rethink your entry. But, you do have other grapes and bunch grape entries are three bunches, which you have, so that will suit you better.

Prepare entries for intake and pick-up. The day has arrived for you to take your items to the fair to check them in. This year’s items will be accepted from 6-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Rowan County Fairgrounds. In food preservation, make sure that your item looks nice and is uniform. Baked goods should be crisp, have tender crust, a pleasing taste and light.

You will want to present your items as outlined in the fair premium book. Again, pay attention to the amounts: cakes, one-quarter; cookies, biscuits, muffins and rolls, half a dozen and on the proper plate, etc. All entries will be numbered and recorded by department and class with corresponding tags placed on exhibits. Department directors oversee the arrangement of exhibits and have control of space assigned to them. They receive all exhibits and take personal charge of them. Entries are to be picked up on Sunday, Oct. 2 from 2-4 p.m.

Good luck on entering items in the fair. I wish you all many blue ribbons. Remember that fair entry forms are due into our office (2727 Old Concord Road) today at the close of business (5 p.m.).

For more information on the fair, visit the Rowan County Fair website at: And last but not least, the fair officially runs Sept. 23-Oct. 1.

Toi N. Degree is a family and consumer education agent for Rowan County Cooperative Extension. You may reach her at 704-216-8970, or email me at