As a volunteer for the Altamont Fair, I would like to encourage you to seek out this opportunity to share your craft with the public, receive a review of your work and maybe win a ribbon! Competitions are an important part of the county fair history. Comparing the virtues of horses and livestock, selecting the best pickles and berry jams, photos – you name it, the county fairs love to judge and exhibit all kinds of items!
First, check out the competitions on your county fair website. Most local fairs post their exhibitor guidebooks right online for your perusal. Review the categories, the rules, the fees to participate, entry deadlines, the drop off and pick up dates, and the prize structure. Each fair creates their own competitions, so be sure to read the details. If you have any questions, you can contact the fair superintendent to get guidance. Then review the guidelines for prepping your item for entry. To be ready to show, your article should meet the criteria of the class, be clean, neat, finished properly. If the competition asks for a description of content or care, be sure to submit it with your entry. There are tips & tricks for showing; for example some folks use natural fiber yarn or threads to attach an entry tag to the entry.
Once your entry is dropped off for judging, the anticipation mounts! Don’t forget to invite your friends and family to see your entry in the display case. Enjoy the feeling of seeing your entry in the exhibit and see if you won a prize! Most fairs offer a modest monetary prize for the top placements, but most don’t do it for money. For many, the personal rewards are getting feedback, the camaraderie of sharing your craft withe other artists and enjoying other people’s work, and the great exposure to the public that may not be familiar with your craft. And lastly, there are many rewards knowing you are a of a long history of “the promotion of agriculture, horticulture, domestic and mechanical arts, historical displays and allied sciences through educational instruction, display and competition as well as the encouragement, promotion, and improvement of domestic and other handiwork and fine arts, and for exhibitions thereof……” (Excerpt from the Articles of Incorporation of the Altamont Fair, language dating back to 1893).
- Pat Canaday