Did you ever hear a thought similar to this while browsing the exhibits at the Moffat County Fair?
"Gee, I should have brought in my pansies. They're bigger than these with a blue ribbon. Oh, well, maybe next year."
If so, it's time to start thinking about what you want to enter.
The 2008 Moffat County Fair kicks off Aug. 2.
Fair coordinator Carol Haskins said the fair book just went to the printer and probably won't be ready until after July 1. She suggests calling the Moffat County Extension Office after that date to see if the books are in. Until the fair books are ready, you can also call the Extension Office concerning entry categories and fair events.
New to the fair this year is a community cookbook display/competition.
Pavilion director Rena Olsen said county residents are invited to bring in community cookbooks that were put together by organizations.
She added that the cookbooks need to be from the Yampa Valley area.
Awards will be given in some creative categories and the cookbooks will be displayed.
If you have one of these community cookbooks, take it to the Extension Office by July 15. Put the cookbook in a reclosable plastic bag, along with your name, address and telephone number.
A "Blue Ribbon Cookbook" will be compiled after the fair. It will include Grand Champion and blue ribbon recipes and more.
Rena said anyone who enters something in the fair can contribute a recipe - and that includes children who exhibit, too.
Also needed for the cookbook are poems and true short stories. If you're interested, pick up a form at the Extension Office or at the Pavilion during the fair. The deadline is Aug. 10.
Once in print, the "Blue Ribbon Cookbook" will be used as a fundraiser. It will sell for $5, and every ten years or so it will be reprinted.
Now is the time to plant a movable container - like a wheelbarrow or kid's wagon - with flowers, herbs, vegetables, or a mixture of these. Enter it in the "Movable Container Contest."
Closer to the fair, exhibitors of all ages can make a "veggie critter," created from fresh vegetables, seeds, nuts, grasses and so forth. A 3-by-5-inch index card with information about the critter needs to accompany the entry.
If you're canning or drying produce this year, set some aside for the fair. Carefully follow fair book rules for making the labels for the products.
Food safety is crucial when preserving foods so it's a priority in judging criteria. A good reference concering ways to adjust processing time to altitude, and also a good source of canning recipes, is the "Blue Ball Book of Preserving."
You can find this book, often used as a reference by fair judges, at the Extension Office for $5.
Also available at the Extension Office is "drying foods" with information about drying fruits and vegetables and making jerky. The book sells for $1.50. Some other canning handouts are free.
There's plenty of time to get a "most unique canned" entry ready for a special contest. This labeled, sealed jar might contain anything inedible, from plastic dinosaurs to marbles. Exhibitors of all ages can enter.
Find your favorite fruit or vegetable salsa recipe. A salsa contest will take place Aug. 9. Bottled wine, beer and root beer also will be judged that day.
And there's much more. For example, mat and frame your favorite photo or artwork. Dress up a stuffed bear for the "Beautiful Bear" contest. Finish stitching your quilt, and consider entering your hobby. You can also enter a poem or music you've written.
As to fair events, a Weiner dog race will take place at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5.
And the 2008 Moffat County Fair barbecue cook-off will be Aug. 2, when the fair kicks off. Entry forms will be available at the Extension Office.
Participants can choose whatever meat they wish to cook up. Following the cook-off, a meal will be served to the public, at a small charge, during which time attendees will get to taste the cook-off entries. The public will vote for their favorites.
This year's cook-off barbecue still is being planned, but it's possible that a bakery (dessert) cook-off will take place at the same time. More information will be available soon.
Also still in the planning is the fair's first Cultural Heritage Night. Entertainment, food and display (perhaps with products for sale) may be included in this event.
The 90th Moffat County Fair will run from Aug. 2 to 9. Open horse shows, 4-H Completion Day and 4-H Shooting Sports Competition will take place in late July.