Barnstable County Fair

The author shows off a blue ribbon from 2016. Ask her about her award-winning crackers.

The Barnstable County Fair is back, and while the fair opens the afternoon of Monday, July 19, and closes late in the late evening of Sunday, July 25, those aren’t the only dates that should be marked down on calendars.

Prior to opening day, there’s Wednesday, July 14, receiving day for non-perishable items in the adult and youth exhibit halls. There’s also Sunday evening, July 18, and Monday morning, July 19—receiving days for perishable items.

Enter your exhibits in the fair. You. Yes, you. You’ve spent the last 18 months perfecting your homemade bread recipe? There’s a category for that. Several, actually.

Was 2020 the year you learned to can things? I know you did. Canning jars and lids at the supermarket were as scarce as toilet paper. Whether it’s pickles, jam, salsa or chutney, go for the gold. Or in the case of the county fair, the blue ribbon. You bragged about it on social media, why not enter it in the fair?

Then there’s the fruits and vegetables department. Raise your hand if you started a garden while you were social distancing at home? Now’s the time to show off your crops. Categories include the usual suspects: carrots, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, peppers, squash and tomatoes; but also the weird and exotic: artichokes, kohlrabi, gourds and a special “other” category: okra anyone? There’s even a category for your “unusual shaped squash.” There’s categories for blueberries and raspberries, though I would be hard-pressed to give up a pint of that delicious goodness.

Vegetables and berries aren’t the only things people grew last year. What about the perennial garden you nursed? The pollinator garden you started? The new space for annuals that you cleared? The fair has categories for cut flowers, including six different categories for hydrangeas, as well as coreopsis, dahlia, gladiolas, roses, butterfly weed and more. There are categories for houseplants, hanging baskets; even cactus plants.

The Cape Cod Gardening Facebook pages has almost 10,000 members. Based on posts I’ve seen, the the exhibit hall should overflow with beautiful flowers and veggies.

For those who like to not only grow flowers, but to also arrange them, there’s over a dozen categories in flower arranging: arrangements in a watering can, arrangements using an old tin, arrangements in a teacup, mug or wine glass. Then there are themed arrangements: an arrangement using a toy, “it’s raining cats and dogs,” “lets go green,” patriotic posies, and my favorite, the under-eight-inch-mini arrangement.

What about the online art class you took? Arts and crafts categories include drawing, painting, pastels, photography, ceramics, glass art and more. Spent the last year making a quilt? The fair, and us fairgoers, want to see that, too.

Got backyard chickens? Enter a dozen eggs in the the Egg Show display over in the livestock area. If both you and your chickens win ribbons, it will most definitely be something to crow about.

Your entry in the fair not means possible bragging rights, it for sure means a discounted admission. Exhibitors ages 12 and over receive a voucher good for half-off a full-price ticket, while exhibitors ages 6 to 11 receive a children’s pass good for any time during the fair.

You have something to show off. Let’s see it.

Even if you don’t care about fame, fortune and blue ribbons, the fair isn’t just an event to attend. When you enter something in the exhibit halls, you become part of the story. You keep a tradition alive.

The extensive exhibitor’s catalogue can be found on the Barnstable County Fair’s website.

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