Colorado Master Gardeners: Come one, come all!
The 102nd annual Routt County Fair will be here shortly, and knowing what enthusiastic gardeners we have here in Routt County, the display at the fair should be awesome. The fair runs Aug. 12 through 21, so mark your calendars and plan to come.
I am encouraging young, old and in between gardeners to enter their fruits and vegetables in the fair this year. There are categories for everything you have been growing and, if not, we have open and miscellaneous categories for other items. If you’ve never entered anything in the fair, some pointers about the process follow. For more information, you also can visit the Routt County Fair at routtcountyfair.org/home-arts-exhibition-hall.
To get started, you’ll want to pick up a fair book and entry tags at the CSU Extension office, located behind the old Routt County Courthouse on the first floor of the annex. Once you’ve gotten these, turn to page 51, where the rules for home arts check-in are listed. It is important to read this section carefully before you prepare your entries.
Entries are grouped by category, and awards are given in the various age groups: junior, age 8 to 12; teen age 13 to 19; adult age 20 to 60; adult plus, age 61 to 70; and senior, age 71 and older.
Each age group is judged separately. Grand champion and reserve grand champion may be awarded for each division and age category, and all blue ribbon holders will receive $1 for each first place ribbon.
Following are a few additional and important details.
Exhibits will be accepted between 1 and 8 p.m. Aug. 17. If you are unable to bring them yourself, ask a friend to bring them for you.
Judging and the awarding of ribbons will occur beginning at 9 p.m. Aug.18.
All entries must be left on exhibit until Aug. 21, when they can be picked up between 2 and 6 p.m. Remember to save your entry receipts for check-out.
After reading the rules for exhibiting, turn to page 75, and carefully read the section for vegetables and crops. Each crop should be displayed on a white paper plate heavy enough to hold the produce. This gets slipped into a large, zip-lock type bag to which you attach the entry tag. If the crop is too large for a zip-lock bag, talk to the superintendent, and she will suggest what to do.
Read through the quantity information for the various divisions, and when making your list of crops you have to enter, note the number of pieces you’ll need to display for each item. This makes it easier for you when you go to your garden to pick your produce. Choose produce that is colorful, uniform in size and free of insect holes and insects. Carefully, wash and dry your produce before packaging. You want the prettiest product possible for judging.
Outstanding youth, adult and senior open class exhibitors earning the most combined points in the vegetable and fruit divisions will be awarded special gifts by the crop superintendents. Points are earned for grand champion, 7, reserve grand champion, 6, champion, 5, reserve champion, 4 and blue, 3.
Entering items in the fair is fun and user-friendly, so come and enter your beautiful crops. You might surprise yourself by going home with a handful of ribbons and some jingle in your pocket.
Eileen Grover moved to the Yampa valley from Houston in 2002 and became a Master Gardener in 2004. She has been vegetable gardening in Steamboat ever since.
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