A few decades ago, I entered a fair baking contest. I was eleven or twelve, the contest was baked goods, and my entry was a blueberry peach pie with lattice crust. My first place pie won the right to be auctioned off at the Franklin County Fair. Then-Sherrif Jim Kearnes bought my pie for somewhere around $75, the most money I had ever earned. The cash is long spent and ribbon lost, but I remain smitten by the idea of fair cooking contests.
So it is that every year around this time, I browse and consider the Ohio State Fair culinary competitions. The fair offers awards (cash and ribbons) for winners in categories as diverse as jam and pickled beets, pumpkin breads and jerky. How cool would it be to list ‘State Fair Award-Winning Jam Maker’ on a resume?
Sponsored special competitions offer greater challenges and bigger prizes. This year, the granddaddy of Ohio State Fair contests is the Kenmore 100th Anniversary ‘Greatest Generations of Grilling Cookoff’, described on page 19 of the .pdf contest information packet. Entries are due June 20th. Celebrity Chef Bobby Dean will be judging for the top prize of a kitchen makeover and trip to New York City and available to meet guest goers on July 27. Mighty tempting!
With this summer being as busy as it is, I simply can’t go after the blue ribbon this year. Perhaps you can? I’d love to see a Harmonious Homestead reader take first prize at the fair!
PS. A little internet sleuthing found that Kenmore is offering similiar prizes in an online contest. If you can’t make the fair, maybe you want to enter online?