Have you ever entered an OC Fair culinary competition? Entries have opened for this year’s fair, which has the theme Summer Starts Here and runs July 11 through August 10. I’ve entered, and won a ribbon, though not a first, second, third—or even honorable mention. My All-O.C. Citrus Marmalade got something called a Judge’s Award at the 2010 fair, and while I’m not quite sure what that means, it was a big, good-looking ribbon and I was happy to see it on my jar in the display case.
That was my first (and so far) only entry, and while I’ve had some ideas subsequently—my last-year’s raspberry jam turned out especially well, for instance—I’m a little chary of the sophomore jinx. It sure is tempting, though, with beautiful summer fruit previewing at local farmers markets. Why not put up a few jars of your best pickles or preserves and enter? There are cash prizes up to $100, and every entry gets a complimentary fair admission, but of course it’s more for the glory, isn’t it?
There are non-food Home Arts competitions, too. There’s a food-blog category, for instance, and one for table settings. Last year I enjoyed a behind-the-scenes peek at the judging of the tabletop competition, which proved a fascinating mix of aesthetic consideration and adherence to rules of etiquette. Read all about how to enter any competition here, and see you at the fair!