Fair Week and my resolve to enter a few things next year.

So last week was the Northwest Washington Fair (well by the time I get around to posting this it’ll be two weeks ago). It’s just little baby one but it’s still a fun time. Unfortunately I was so busy checking everything out I forgot to pull out my phone and take pictures.

If you are into rodeos and demolition derbies to concerts and comedians there is something for everyone every night. I didn’t go to any shows this year. Nothing seemed to really jump out at me where I said “most definitely going”. We had Larry the Cable Guy and Cheap Trick. Now Cheap Trick I might have gone to (yeah, I’m old) but no one else seemed interested and I hate doing concerts alone.

My main interests lie in the animals, the food and the different fair entries like needlework, canning/preserving, gardening, etc.

Why animals? I don’t have a farm and don’t show animals but there is just something about wandering down the aisles of the big barns and seeing beautifully cared for cows, sheep, goats and horses. I even enjoy the barn smell believe it or not. Guess I’m just a country girl at heart. If you’re lucky one of the cows may just calve during the week and you’ll get to check out the babies. We had three give birth but somehow or other I missed seeing them while wandering around. I love watching all the kids with their animals. Brushing and grooming or just cuddled up in the straw next to them taking a nap. It has to be the sweetest thing to see.

Poffertjes – Dutch mini pancakes dusted with powdered sugar and served with a side of whipped butter. So good!

Every year there is one absolute must on our agenda when deciding what to eat…poffertjes! What exactly are poffertjes you ask. They are little Dutch pancakes, but so unlike American pancakes. They are pillowy soft in texture and almost melt in your mouth. The flavor reminds you of fall with a hint of spice. They are a popular street food during the holidays and street carnivals in the Netherlands, not unlike our fair. Traditionally they are made with buckwheat flour but some recipes use whole wheat flour and a little cinnamon and nutmeg and are cooked in a special little pan. When done on one side they are flipped very carefully, but quickly, with a skewer. When fully done they skewer a few onto a plate, dust with powdered sugar and are served with butter on the side. I really would love to make my own but then they won’t be a special treat any more. They are only available a couple of times a year so I try to indulge when I can. If you’re wondering about the little crochet doll it’s something fun I’m taking part in with a few other people and a crochet designer in Poland. Maybe I’ll post about our adventures at a later date. We haven’t done and seen everything I want to yet and I need to hurry it up and get her on her way to her next destination.

This seems like a standard recipe if you want to try them at home.

Then there are the craft and food entries that I love to check out. First you have the collections. A lot of children enter their different toy collections like Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, dolls, figurines, specific characters, etc. You’ll also see things like Army vehicles, cups, spoons, vintage jewelry, etc. They also have a huge collection of different Lego builds that people enter. My grandson figures he has some pretty good collections going on and he wants to enter one next year. My mom entered her collection of small tea cups and saucers she’d collected from several different states and other countries a couple of years ago and received a ribbon for the display.

The artwork and photography showings are rather sparse to tell the truth. I remember years ago that there didn’t seem to be enough room for all the artwork. Now the displays shrink more and more every year. It seems everyone wants to take pictures but no one wants to paint or draw. It can be rather intimidating submitting something and comparing it to everything else on the wall. So here we go with resolve #1 – paint and/or draw a picture and submit a photo. My grandson and I did submit photographs last year but I wasn’t entirely happy with mine to begin with so now I have a full year to get the best pictures I possibly can.

Last years fair entry – dragonfly

My grandsons entry – Black Hills SD

I make sure to check out the canning and preserving section and always think that one year I really need to submit a few things. I mean if people submit Rice Krispie treats I should be able to at least show my chocolate chip cookies right? I’ve also been wanting to enter my Blackberry Apple Jelly and just never do. I always wait too late. So resolve #2 – submit a jar of jam or jelly and a few food items. We have all sorts of categories to choose from so I could enter cookies, pies, cakes, breads, etc. I think one of each category is a bit much so I’m going to try and go with things you don’t often see. Maybe something just a wee bit out of the ordinary. There were plain sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, those peanut butter rice krispie treats with chocolate and butterscotch chips melted on them (Scotcheroos for those in the know), and all sort of other every day sweets and treats. Maybe something a little different will garner a ribbon.

We usually just cruise through the garden entries but don’t linger too long. This year we did spend a little more time checking out the entries. After all we have our own garden now so I wondered how our veggies would stack up next to these. My grandson wants to grow a giant veggie or something so he can walk away with an award for the biggest/heaviest veggie. He wanted a pumpkin but that would have to be started really early and in a greenhouse in order to be a decent size for the fair. So maybe we’ll do a zucchini or squash or something a little easier because we don’t have a greenhouse, unfortunately. So resolve #3 – enter something from my garden. Now this is one I’m going to have to read up on the requirements a bit more because I’ve never really looked at them before this.

Now to my pet peeve and something I really would like to see more entries of…needlework OTHER than quilting! Don’t get me wrong. I love looking at the quilts. They all are amazing and absolutely beautiful works of art. But I think every single person in this county quilts and doesn’t do anything else. Every year there are fewer displays of the other needle arts like crochet, tatting, embroidery, bobbin lace, knitting, needlepoint, cross stitch, etc. The quilts are hung on special bars to display them at their fullest and everything else is folded and stuffed in glass display cases. Some of the afghans and clothing would look great if displayed properly. As an aside, if you want your project hung up you do need to provide some sort of hanger on the back of the item. Usually it’s a fabric sewn tube of some sort because then the item can just be slid on the pipe they use as hangers. So it makes sense that if the quilt makers sew a hanger on their quilt and the crochet blanket maker doesn’t, well your afghan is going to be folded in a small bundle so you can see one corner and that’s it.

This year I was especially dismayed by the lack of crochet items. I say crochet mainly because that’s what I do. But I didn’t even notice a whole of knitted items when there usually are a lot more of those than the other needlework. Last year there was so much space in the displays that someone displayed their whole collection of antique miniature sewing machines. Not just a couple either but dozens of them. This year I think they even had fewer display cases than other years because they don’t get enough entries. It was hard to tell because they tore down the old building and put up a new one and moved things around a bit. So I’m not quite sure if there as many display cases as usual, it just seemed there weren’t. So resolve #4 – enter as many crochet and needlework items as I possibly can. I already have several things in the works that I just need to finish. One of them I started years ago specifically for the fair and still haven’t finished. I have 11 months now to get everything finished. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been feeling like doing much crafting for a few months now but I think maybe this is the motivation I need to get some WIPs and UFOs done!

So there you have it. I have four different resolutions for next years fair. Let’s see if I can get at least one entry done in each one of the main areas and then anything after that is icing on the cake, right?

How about you? Do you submit entries to the fair? What types of items and do you have any tips for a newbie like me?