With exciting new Star Trek exhibits, an attractive concert lineup and monster truck races, it’s hard to believe the Arizona State Fair still upholds the age-old tradition of competitive contests. Competitors still flood the state fair grounds with hand-sewn fashions, livestock and baked goods.
With the range spanning from baking challenges to fine art entries to challenges that involve SPAM, this year’s competitions definitely have something for everyone to enjoy. You may enter in culinary arts and youth development competitions until Sept. 25 by visiting azsf.fairmanager.com. For those interested in entering in the fine arts competitions, entries and entry forms must be submitted to the state fair entry office between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 and 21.
Gilbert mom Kelly Hendrickson is gearing up for this year’s competition alongside her eight children who range in age from 6 to 21.
“I have been doing these competitions since I was a kid and I just felt like it would be something fun for my kids to do,” Hendrickson says. “It is just a good self-esteem boost to walk around the fair, try to find your name and see if there is a ribbon next to your item.”
Most first, second and third place winners receive cash prizes that range from $5 to $100 gift cards.
Hendrickson, originally from Tempe, has entered a friend’s recipe in the cinnamon roll competition. Her children will be entering chocolate chip cookies and a duct tape dress, but are most excited about the decorated cakes they plan to enter.
The Hendricksons make an event out of their yearly participation in the state fair by planning out their recipes over the summer, most of which are tried and true homemade recipes.
“It’s a lot of fun, at such a young age, to have someone recognize you for something,” Hendrickson says.
Dionna Dallas, director for entries for the Arizona State Fair, says there are 392 competitive contests, the most popular categories being the culinary one-day competitions and quilting and crocheting.
Dallas also explains that the judges for the competitions are often chosen because of their extensive background in the area they are mediating. They are usually from local artist guilds or are community college professors.
“We use the American judging system where participants enter by class and age, and from there the judges choose first, second and third,” Dallas says. “For ‘Best of Show’ we combine the first place contestants of each class and determine who is the best.”
The Arizona State Fair begins Friday, Oct. 11, and ends Sunday, Nov. 3.
The 2013 Arizona State Fair Competitive Contests range from food entries to art pieces. Most of these events run for the duration of the fair, Oct. 11-Nov. 3. Visit azstatefair.com/competitive-entries for a list of contests or call the entry office at (602)-257-7142. The state fair entry office is at 1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix.
• Nicole, a junior at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.