Open Flower Show
County Fair Horticultural Competition
County fairs have been an anticipated event each year in the United States for years, and this year was no different. Surrounding areas joined in to see what their neighbors have been up to in the way of healthy competition.
This was the third year in which I entered the county fair competitions, and I'm loving it. Every year I have tried to enter different things and challenge myself with new experiences.
I was able to enter 38 categories for the flower show and was extremely blessed to have placed in each one. There were three areas that I entered for the first time in the fresh cut artistic division of the flower show: Big Bloomers (as seen in the photo), Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Patriotic.
Enjoy the flower presentations along with learning about the contest, guidelines and tips for having a great exhibit.
Image credit by Favored1
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Poll: Have you ever ...
Have you ever entered a county flower show?
Getting Ready for the Exhibit
There's a lot to do in preparing for the competition.
Getting ready for the Open Flower Show Competition takes a year of planning.
For the gardener, one will have to know in advance what they want to enter into the exhibit. After last year I knew that I wanted to enter much more into the fair for this year. Early in the spring I prepared some of my plants so they would be in bloom at the right time. Most of them cooperated, but with the massive amount of rain many of the flowers just didn't "fair" that well, so I had to make alternate plans. Thankfully, things worked out well.
The competition was to take place July 15th-20th, 2013. It took me the entire week to schedule things so I could have all my entries in on time and look as fresh as they could. I needed to have my herbs in for judging on Monday, July 15th along with my baked goods. This was difficult, but with the help of my husband and a friend we finished early.
Flower competitions weren't until Thursday so I had several days to get things in order. I didn't cut flowers until Wednesday evening for the flower arrangements and cut the individual categories on Thursday morning. Most things were cut before hand and placed in the refrigerator overnight. We removed a shelf so the large arrangements would fit.
As you can see in the photo, it was early in the morning when people were starting to bring in their entries for the fair. By the time all was finished there were thousands of items in all areas for people to gaze upon and enjoy.
We weren't permitted to retrieve our entries until Sunday afternoon. It was hard waiting to see if I won. God blessed me "real good" with favor and I placed well in the categories.
Image credit by Favored1
Each exhibit must be in a clear glass container.
No plastic flowers are permitted.
Only one entry per category is permitted.
Containers must not exceed 10".
Any amateur may enter the show.
Entries must be named correctly.
All entries must be grown by the exhibitor, except for fillers.
Only artistic divisions may use fillers and decorations.
No state conservation material is permitted.
Judges decisions are final.
Unless specified, all flowers must be displayed as a single bloom.
Fresh Flower Arrangement Artistic Division
Artistic Division Guidelines
- Anyone can enter this division as long as they follow the specific guidelines for this category.
- When making arrangements you are permitted to use dried flowers or fillers not necessarily grown by the exhibitor. However the fresh flowers are to be home grown.
- No artificial or plastic flowers are permitted whatsoever.
- Decorations to add to the creative and artistic side may be added.
- Judging was based on overall: Creativity/Originality, freshness of flowers (no dead leaves or spent flowers) and presentation.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Prize: 2nd Place Red Ribbon
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
This was my favorite arrangement to make. In order to make the rainbow I used an old hose that had sprung a leak in it. My husband cut it and then wrapped it with rainbow duct tape. He notched out the ends so they would tuck down into the soil without falling over.
There were over 75 fresh cut flowers, herbs and foliage items in this arrangement. I used a combination of dirt and an oasis foam in the center for the cut flowers. Then I covered the oasis with dirt so you couldn't see it. I used cut flowering vinca vine and wrapped it around the rainbow from both directions, then tucked the ends into the soil. The arrangement was completed with a simple bow I made from a fabric ribbon in "rainbow-ish" colors.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Judging Date was Thursday, July 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Big Bloomers Arrangement - Prize: 3rd Place White Ribbon
Big Bloomers Flower Arrangement
In order for a bouquet to be entered into this category each bloom must be at least 4 inches wide or long. You are permitted to add fillers to the arrangement or decorations.
My arrangement included giant zinnias, hibiscus, daylilies, verbena, hostas, vinca vine, butterfly bush, dusty miller and more fillers.
Image credit by Favored1
Big Bloomers - Judging Date was Thursday, July 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Yankee Doodle Dandy - Patriotic Arrangement - Prize: 2nd Place Red Ribbon
Yankee Doodle Dandy Flower Arrangement
This arrangement had to be more specific because of the theme. I chose white vinca flowers, daylily leaves, blue corn flowers and herb fillers.
Patriotic Division - Same date for judging.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Poll: You decide.
Which artistic arrangement did you like the most?
Crystal and Glass Vases - Click on the item for details.
We were permitted to use any clear glass vase that we wished. They could not be over 10 inches tall, but width didn't matter.
Now these are not what I used for the competition, but do have nice vases at home. Each vase ranges from 9-10 inches tall, and would be perfect for the big bloomers arrangements like the ones at the fair.
Total Ribbons Won in Horticultural Division 2013
Blue Ribbon Winners
First Place: 11 total
A few winners ... - from the Zinnia family.Click thumbnail to view full-size
First Place Winners from the Tree/Shrub/Bush Families - Knock Out Rose Bush, Pink Butterfly Bush, Miniature Red Rose, Miniature Pink RoseClick thumbnail to view full-size
More First Place Winners in Flowers, Herbs & Bushes
Single Purple Petunia
Large Giant Zinnia
Pink Spirea Bush
Suggested Care for Exhibit Flowers
- Harden fresh cut flowers in deep cold water for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Strip the lower leaves from stems, but do not remove all the foliage. You need some for a more full effect or overall presentation.
- Woody stemmed flowers (shrubs or trees) need at least one inch base. Crush or slit the base so it can absorb water for freshness.
- Cut flowers on an angle to absorb water.
- Remove dead leaves or spent flowers before bringing your exhibit to be judged.
- Only enter the exact number of blooms or items that is required. Not following the rules can decrease your chances of winning.
- Ice cubes in vases with water can help keep your bloom fresh.
Red Ribbon Winners
Second Place: 12 total
A few red ribbon winners... - Yellow Daylily, White Obedient Plant, Red Gomphrena, HibiscusClick thumbnail to view full-size
More Second Place Winners in Flowers & Herbs
Purple Ruffled Petunia
Petite Zinnia Bouquet
Zinnia Wedding Bouquet (I don't have a photo of this.)
White Ribbon Winners
Third Place: 17 total
A few white ribbon winners ... - White Spider Plant, Hibiscus, Pink Cone Flower, Dusty MillerClick thumbnail to view full-size
More White Ribbon Winners in Flowers, Herbs & Trees
Pink Cone Flower
White Spider Flower
Purple Corn Flower
Flowering Purple Vinca Vine
White Rose of Sharon
More Articles by Fay
You can read more articles, reviews and get information on upcoming County Fair updates for competition at Favored Fay. http://favoredfay.blogspot.com/
There's so much you can do!
Taking part in the community is one of the best things anyone can do. Not only do you get to enter competitions for prizes, you meet some pretty terrific people as well.
There are so many more areas in which I'd like to try my hand next year. For example making a dried flower arrangement like someone did in this photo. Perhaps I'll do some crafts. I actually did have crafts, but they weren't for the fair. I may even enter something in painting, sewing or canning. Who knows? Anything is possible.
I hope you enjoyed your visit into my world at the county fair and it inspires you to get involved with the one in your community next year.
Image credit by Favored1
- Fairs Background on Wikipedia
Information on fairs origin.