Monday, May 20, 2013

The Countdown Begins

53 more days...

My Fair Books arrived today. These are the Open Class Handbooks for the Johnson County Fair and the Indiana State Fair. They list the rules and all the different categories of stuff you can enter.

I have entered the County Fair almost evey year since 1988. I grew up just behind the Indiana State Fairgrounds. I use to walk to the State Fair with my friends in grade school. Back then, I thought you had to live on a farm to enter the fair. I grew up in an inner city-ish neighborhood. There was no such thing as 4-H at our school. I moved out when I was 18 and lived in my college town of Bloomington, IN year round. It was there that I discovered the County Fair. One of the girls I worked with talked about going back to her hometown in northern Indiana every summer to compete in her County Fair and what a great time it was. When I expressed interest, she told me to just call my local Extension Office and ask about the dates for the fair and pick up a handbook. Extension Office? What's that? I was totally clueless. I was actually shocked to find a phone number next to "County Extension Office" in the phone book. Then, I was shocked to find out that for Open Class exhibitors (that is, anyone who's not in 4-H), you just show up with your entry on the said date. No pre-registration. Not even an entry fee! I entered a couple items that first year and have been hooked since. After that year, whenever I moved to a new area, I would call up the local Extension Office to get fair dates and request a handbook. I've participated in fairs in five different counties in two different states.

The State Fair is a little different in that you have to pre-register and pay an entry fee. For Open Class, you do not have to participate in a County Fair to participate in the State Fair. I didn't get organized enough to enter the State Fair until 2007 but I've entered every year since. Entry fee is $30 and you can enter up to 35 items for that. I'm one of the crazy people that enter 35 items. I usually enter 20-30 items in the County Fair. Most of my entries are in the baking categories and I bake everything fresh (some people who do multiple entries will bake things ahead of time and freeze them) so the 48 hours before the entries are due are pure madness. For anothe $30, you can actually enter 30 more items (for a total of 65) in the State Fair but I am not THAT insane!

The Johnson County Fair is July 14-20. Entries are due in July 12-13th so I will be a crazy woman on July 11th and 12th. There is a separate baking contest on July 16th so I have the 15th and 16th off too. The State Fair runs August 2-18th. Most of my entries will be due in July 26-27th but there are a number of single day contests and some of the cakes and pies aren't due until after the fair starts. I have my July dates off work already but I have to see what August dates I need off and hope our scheduler doesn't hate me.

Off to do some planning tonight!


  1. Oh no, because entering 65 items would be insane, lol!!! But not 35 items, not at all crazy. You are a lunatic, woman! I can't imagine the chatter going on in your brain right now. You know I'm just teasing you...I know you'll bring home another armful of blue ribbons & I'll be insanely proud of you. I'm always in awe of you girlfriend. Good luck! Have fun. If you need me to sample something... :-)

  2. wow! I agree 35...seriously! I think we need to plan another trip to the Fair this summer! Maybe we could even take the kids this time! :)