Wanted: Open Class exhibitorsIt’s once again county fair time, which means residents of all ages have the chance to win a blue ribbon exhibiting examples of their talent in hobbies or growing things.
It’s once again county fair time, which means residents of all ages have the chance to win a blue ribbon exhibiting examples of their talent in hobbies or growing things.
The Open Class Exhibit at the Stuts-man County Fair includes a broad range of possibilities in its Home and Hobby and Agriculture Crops and Garden categories. Home and Hobby in-cludes everything from art, photography, baking and canning to crafts and wood working. The different entry classes are divided by age group as well.
Organizer Ann Kern stresses that Open Class means the opportunity to exhibit items is open to everyone of any age.
“We’d really like to see more young people exhibiting,” she said. “Kids don’t need to belong to 4-H to enter things in Open Class and 4-H kids can also enter things in Open Class.”
The number of entries in Open Class hasn’t varied much in the last several years, Kern said. Last year exhibitors numbered 204, down 18 from 2008. However, those 204 people produced 1,079 exhibit entries, up by 30 over 2008’s total.
The turnout for Open Class in 2009 was actually better than Kern and her fellow superintendents had expected. They wondered what would happen, Kern said, considering the many problems caused by flooding and high water throughout the county.
One category that didn’t surprise Kern with its poor turnout last year was the number of crop entries. It’s been dismal for years, she said, but last year the weather and water situation affected crop production. She’s more optimistic about the potential this year.
“The crops will be better, so I hope we’ll see more crop entries this year,” she said.
The biggest change the superintendents made for this year’s fair was to the flier. The flier lists the eligible categories and classes along with a two-page entry form. The entry form must be filled out prior to submitting the item. Each item must have its own entry form.
“Check over the flier very closely. We did a lot of changes to it this year,” Kern said.
For those new to Open Class exhibiting, fliers can be picked up at Wal-Mart in the fabric and crafts department, either public library location, the NDSU Extension Office, which is upstairs in the building housing the All-Vets Club, and County Market. Local sponsors also have fliers. Calling Kern at 435-2782 is another option.
“We always want more exhibitors and exhibits,” she said.
Although the rules and requirements are listed in the flier, Kern said, there are apparently some that need to be emphasized.
“Pictures have to be ready to hang,” she said. “We just don’t have room to lay them down or set them up.”
Also, whatever is entered must be clean. Last year, Kern said, a few items were so dirty they couldn’t be exhibited.
“We had some that we had to put in plastic bags they smelled so terrible,” she said. “We’re not accepting dirty items.”
Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is delivery day for exhibit entries. The Russ Melland Building at the south end of the fairgrounds houses both 4-H and Open Class exhibits.
Perishable items, such as food and flowers, are judged Tuesday evening and the non-perishables, such as pictures, art items and needlework, will be judged Wednesday morning. The traditional ribbons of blue for first place, red for second and white for third are attached to the winners.
Judges are generally local.
“We try to find people who have expertise in that area, whether it’s food, wood, needlework or flowers,” Kern said. “But it gets harder every year to find judges.”
Winners receive $4 for a blue ribbon, $3 for a red and $2 for a white. They may also receive a special award from a sponsor. Cavendish Farms provides an award for various garden vegetables, Don’s House of Flowers rewards the best flowers and Country Gardens the best fresh vegetable. North Dakota Mill and Elevator gives awards for the best bread, rolls and pie. The Pantry Cafe rewards the best cake and Browning Honey rewards the best food item made with honey.
Last year, the garden and flower categories had a lot of entries, Kern said, and she expects with the good weather this spring and summer that will again occur. Then she laughs, saying every year reality tends to make a liar out of her.
“There’s just no way to predict what we’ll get in entries,” she said.
But one thing the Open Class superintendents always need is more help.
“Anyone who’s interested in helping us, please give me a call, even if it’s for next year,” Kern said.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com