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Fair time: Calling all makers for entries, exhibits

Aug 3rd, 2017 | Category: Features

 by Mary Vermillion

There is still time to enter collections and exhibits in this year’s Northwest Washington Fair. And Amanda Stidham, superintendent for baking, canning and sewing, sincerely hopes you will. “Anyone from any age and background can enter,” Stidham said. “We’ve had ages 3 to 101 (participate) and love to see everyone come to the Fair after judging to see how their items did.”

Canned entries from local residents awarded during a recent fair year. PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTHWEST WASHINGTON FAIR

Canned entries from local residents awarded during a recent fair year. PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTHWEST WASHINGTON FAIR

Stidham is a Fair veteran – she began showing animals at the age of 3, has been superintendent of her category for five years, and has also served many years as a superintendent and board member of the Whatcom County Youth Fair. Safe to say, she is a Fair booster. And her enthusiasm for the Fair’s historic public entry process is obvious … even through email, which is a great way to reach her during the busy lead-up to this year’s Aug. 14-19 event in Lynden.

“We have many people who enter blue ribbon entries year after year,” she said. “One person that stands out is a gentleman who brings one apple pie every year, carrying on his late wife’s tradition to enter a pie every year at the Northwest Washington Fair.”

Stidham said 60 percent of the items entered in her category are from returning exhibitors. Newcomers make up the rest. In case you’re not a canner, baker or seamstress, consider the other public entry categories: photography, flowers, art, Lego, hobbies and collections, and more.

For some, the public exhibitions are the heart of the county Fair. It’s inspiring to see the good work of neighbors lined up in the exhibition spaces. For Stidham, the public entry process is important because “it brings light and interest into food preservation, sewing and baking. We spend all week long answering questions, working with beginners, and having pressure gauges tested by our Master Food preserver.”

Interest remains steady. According to the history on the Northwest Washington website, public entries hover around 11,000 to 12,000 entries from approximately 2,000 people each year. While the number of entries stays fairly constant year to year, the superintendents do see some changes. For instance, baking and canning trends are influenced by crop production the prior season and sewing entries hew to the latest fashions.

For anyone hesitating to enter a project, keep in mind that judging is done in private, before the Fair, by experts with a sincere interest in encouraging people to continue the craft.

“Do it! You truly have nothing to lose,” Stidham encouraged. “You often get feedback, your item or items displayed for thousands of fairgoers to view, and you even have a chance to make premiums.”

How to enter


Northwest Washington Fair: Aug. 14-19. Anyone can enter an exhibit in the Fair. There is no fee. And entries in more than one department are just fine. Check the department listings online ( for restrictions on number of entries in a department, class and lot. This year, online entries opened June 1. Some 4H entries were due in July and livestock entries were due by July 25 to avoid late fees. See the Northwest Washington Fair website (exhibitors guide and premium book) for additional requirements and information. Register online to have a pre-printed tag ready when you deliver your entry to the fair. Most winning entries will receive ribbons; some departments award premiums, which are paid by check no later than Sept. 30. For more information, see information listed at or call (360) 354-4111.


Skagit County Fair: Aug. 9-12. Enter an open class division at the Skagit County Fair, open to all ages! Winners will recieve a prize. No pre-registration and no fee to enter. For entry information, including exhibit entry hours, see

One Comment to “Fair time: Calling all makers for entries, exhibits”

  1. robin says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I need to plan for entering next year!

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