You don’t have to be a gymnast a runner or a swimmer to compete but have you ever given thought to entering your prize-winning, roses, cut flowers, or fruit and vegetable crops, cakes or pies for competition at the County Fair? Many of you have these prize winners but fail to enter them. The 70th Annual Mohave County Fair will be held September 15-18, 2016, in Kingman.
To enter, an Entry Form must be submitted by August 19th for General Exhibits, Livestock and Small Animals and Dog show by September 1st and September 12th, for Gymkhana entries. The item to be exhibited should then be taken to the Fairgrounds just prior to the County Fair. See the Fair Book for Delivery Dates, Rules and Regulations and have fun entering. This year's Mohave County Fair Books are available at the Mohave County Fairgrounds Office, City Complexes, Feed Stores, Sr. Centers and Public Libraries, Hobby Shops, Mohave Community College, and many more locations. It is also available on the internet at www.mcfafairgrounds.org you can even print entry forms to mail in.
During my many years at fairs, I always hear people say "Compared with those that won blue ribbons, I have better looking roses in my garden." Many of you do have such specimens and they should have been entered to earn a prize!
Most flower shows and fairs are open to all. It is not necessary to be a member of a club. Competing for cash and prizes is easy and it makes the fair a lot more interesting when you are an "exhibitor". Rules are generally very simple and can be obtained in advance from county fair office. Gardeners often fail to enter specimens in shows and fairs for a simple reason: They don't know what constitutes a good entry. Some enter specimens that are disqualified are not considered for prizes for many reasons: The wrong number of specimens, wrong size, poor condition or excessive defects.
I recall several fairs in which individuals entered the correct number of zucchini squash, but the entry was not considered for an award because the specimens were too large. Specimen size is important and it is determined by what the public buys at the produce counter. Do you want zucchini squash that are 18 to 24 inches long, or those that measure eight to ten inches? Thus, biggest is not always best. There are exceptions to this rule. Some fairs offer prizes for the largest pumpkin, watermelon or sunflower head. Unless specified as "largest", you should base entry size on consumer preference.
Other than size, what does a judge look for? Is the entry typical of the variety? This includes color, shape and size. Most of us know what a typical zucchini squash looks like. Suppose you see an entry of zucchini squash with the following characteristics: skin color is greenish-yellow, the bottom end is greatly enlarged, all are curved. This specimen is definitely not typical of zucchini squash.
Specimen uniformity is important, especially when more than one is entered for judging. Regardless, if the specimens are roses, zinnias, carrots or citrus - all should be of the same size, color and shape. If one of the specimens differs from the others, it is cause for not awarding a prize.
Specimens entered for competition should be in excellent condition. When competition is keen, judges look for the slightest imperfection in order to narrow the field down to first, second, and third. Specimens should be free of insect damage, diseases, bruises, mechanical damage, wilting, or shriveling.
Entering flowers in shows requires somewhat more knowledge compared to that required for fruits and vegetables. Length of stems, size of flowers, maturity of flower buds, are some important points to consider. For example, roses are entered as a single stem although some entries call for three. A group of three roses should have an unopened bud, one partially opened, and a third opened with the inner portion partially exposed.
If you are reluctant to enter specimens for competition, seek assistance from individuals who have competed. Exhibiting is not limited to flowers and vegetables, you may have prize winning livestock, small animals, clothing, cookies, pies, or preserves and not even know it!
Remember the Mohave County Fair September 15-18, 2016, and that the Fair Books are available at the Mohave County Fairgrounds Office and at Public Libraries, Sr. Centers, Hobby Shops and Feed Stores and on the internet at www.mcfafairgrounds.org
To enter, an Entry Form must be submitted by August 19th for General Exhibits, Livestock and Small Animals and Dog show by September 1st and September 12th, for Gymkhana entries.