Entry deadlines announced for State Fair arts, horticulture, culinary competitions

state fair of virginiaCalling all artisans, bakers, cooks and crafters: don’t miss your chance to showcase your skills and talents in one of the State Fair of Virginia’s 1,200-plus competitions Sept. 24 through Oct. 3 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

Applications for most entries in the creative arts categories are due Aug. 27, and applications for culinary arts entries are due Sept. 3. Guidelines and entry forms are available on the fair’s website at StateFairVa.org.

Culinary and creative arts competitions are a time-honored tradition at the fair, giving artists and makers opportunities to compete alongside the best of Virginia. With categories including flower arranging, knitting, metalworking, photography, pottery, woodworking, and even turning trash into treasure, there’s something for adults and youth alike.

“We always have an abundance of awesome talent,” said Cheryl English, the fair’s superintendent of creative and culinary arts.

English said she expects a good turnout in this year’s competitions, as people have honed their skills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you check the shelves at craft stores, you will certainly see this,” she said. “The pandemic has kept so many people at home, and they had to entertain themselves.”

English added that this year’s quilt competition “will be stunning.” With 22 categories, the State Fair’s quilt show has grown from 73 entries in 2016 to 148 entries in 2019.

The culinary competitions cover a range of edible goods, including candy, cakes, honey cookery and quick breads. In addition, a new scholarship opportunity is available for youth culinary arts in the cake category, where the first-place winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

“We are so proud to kick off this scholarship,” English said. “I truly hope our youth get involved in this competition.”

Youth and adults can participate in the State Fair Special Cookie Competition by pairing up in parent/child, grandparent/grandchild, guardian/child teams and entering made-from-scratch cookies. In a competition sponsored by the Virginia Peanut Growers Association, youth may submit their best-decorated peanut butter cupcake recipe, and adults can enter their favorite peanut butter pie recipe. A prize of $50 goes to the youth winner, and $150 for the winning adult.

There are opportunities for farmers and home gardeners to enter horticulture competitions, including best corn, herbs, nuts and wheat, along with succulents and cacti, terrariums, orchids and more. Canners can demonstrate their craft with more than 100 preserved food categories for jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, sauces and more. Visit StateFairVa.org for more information on the horticulture competitions.

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