Super 17 Challenge Tips

February 11, 2009

Greetings everyone! Sorry it's been a while since an update. Hopefully you have read the previous updates and have started working on some projects...

Right about now is the time to get going on grasses and grains. Please note that it's field grasses (wheat, barley, rye, etc.) not ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses get entered in floral.

When you are preparing exhibits for the fair please be sure to read all the rules in each department. The judges and superintendents will change from year to year and some are sticklers when it comes to the rules. Last year I learned this painful lesson in Food Preservation. A recipe card is supposed to be attached to the exhibit especially if the recipe is not in the Ball Blue Book. This rule had been overlooked in previous years, so I didn't bring them. The judge needs to be sure that the canning is safe as well as pretty and cannot make that determination without a recipe card. Each jar is also supposed to have a label on it that states how it was processed, how long, etc. It's your resposibility to make sure that label is on the jar. We are going to try to make them available online for you. On entry day the superintendent will have them too. Please be sure to ask for them.

That's all I have for now, if you have questions or want information about a specific department please email with Super 17 in the subject line.

Good luck everyone!

July 14, 2008

There is just about one month left to get entries ready for the 2008 Fair. YIKE!

How many of you are sitting next to that zucchini plant willing it to grow past it's current ankle height stage to a full fledged plant with vegetables on it in three weeks? If you are seriously thinking it's not gonna happen, don't throw in the towel yet! You can enter a veggie critter. You are allowed to buy vegetables from the farmer's market or grocery store and create a fun creature to enter in the fair.

Did you just find out about the Super 17 Challenge yesterday and realize there probably isn't enough time to make a decent beer or wine? How about entering a beer or wine label? There are even two categories: Black & White or Colored.

Are your flowers taking a beating from hail one day and scorching heat the next? If you are worried they won't flourish to their best for the fair, consider making a birdhouse or yard art. You can even visit your local florist for flowers and enter a flower arrangement in one of the many themed floral designs.

June 23, 2008

Hey everyone! Wow! The fair is getting closer and closer! Can you believe it?

OK, a few things:

We are going to be using a new online entry system this year. You can pre-register all your exhibits at home and bring them to the fair on entry day. Just click on the Online Entries and Premium Book tab and follow the instructions.

The Premium Book is now available for viewing online. Printed books should be available soon. Please note that there are different entry dates and times for each class. They will be in the Premium Book. Please make sure you check the rules for the correct number of exhibits you can enter in each lot and class.

We will have a table in the Pole Building to tag your Super 17 exhibits before turning them in to the superintendents.

April 19, 2008

We all like to take pictures with our cameras, but what makes a great photo? Terry sent me the following link to a blog entry: Photos by Jay. The blogger has some great beginning tips and suggestions on how to take a good photograph. Some other suggestions when entering photographs in the fair:

- Enlarge the photograph to at least 8 X10. Costco has a nice photo developement department. The turn around is quick and it doesn't cost alot to get enlargments. You can even send files to them online and they will mail your photographs to you or you can pick them up.

- It is OK to use photo enhancement software on your photographs. Just be aware that you can overdo it.

- You can crop your photo to any shape or size. It doesn't have to be standard.

- You don't have to break the bank on the framing. You can get basic, fairly inexpensive frames and mats at many stores. Check thrift stores and garage sales for pictures with really cool frames. Toss the picture and use the frame.

While we're here, let's talk about the frames for a minute. The following applies to Fine Arts exhibits too. Make sure your frame is well built. Repair it if it is in need. All photographs and fine art entries must have a wire hanger that is suitable for hanging. Please people, do it right - don't duct tape a piece of wire to the back and expect it to stay. Take the time and attach the screw in loops and wire. The comb hangers that usually come on the frame are unacceptable. The piece has to hang from a pegboard hook. If you don't have the appropriate hanger on your exhibit, it will not be accepted.

Now, grab your camera and take some great photos!

February 23, 2008

Grains & Grasses. OK. I don't know about you, but this is the hardest of the 17 for me. Larry Godsey is the Superintendent for this class and he grows fantastic grains & grasses. He enjoys sharing his knowledge too. I'm going to try to pass some of what I learned last year along. If anyone has anything to contribute on this subject, please let me know and I'll post it.

For clarification, I'm talking about field grasses (wheat, oats, barley) and legumes (beans, chick peas, etc.). You can get seeds for field grasses in the bulk food section at a natural food store. Be sure they haven't been roasted or they won't grow.

Last year I tried barley, wheat and soy beans. I planted each variety in a large margarine tub (like the size you get at Costco - 80 oz.). You can probably get containers at the nursery too. If you use the margarine tubs, be sure to drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill the tub with soil and place the seeds about a half inch to 1 inch apart and cover. You can also plant the seeds directly in your garden. The seeds are pretty hardy and can withstand the cold so planting this time of year shouldn't hurt them. Water regularly.

Some things to keep in mind: Make sure the soil isn't too fertile or the grasses will fall over. You need to grow enough to make a sheaf which is 1 1/2" to 2" in diameter. If you are planting in a tub, don't plant too many seeds and you will want to water more often. Keep in mind that field grasses are grown in eastern Washington where it's drier so they don't have to be 'moist'.

The wheat and barley didn't survive. I planted the seeds too closely together. The soy beans did really well and I entered the plant. It was a pretty looking plant, but I also planted the seeds too closely together so I didn't get a crop out of them.

You can also enter sunflower plants & corn stalks. If you are REALLY ambitious you can try to grow enough hay to make a bale! Check the premium book for what is required. As always, if you have questions, email the Fair Office. Later!

February 7, 2008

Hey everyone! Happy New Year! So sorry it's been a while. Hopefully you've all been working hard on various different projects.

Let's talk about quilts for a minute. I'm sure when you hear the word 'quilt' you think about all those huge, beautiful pieces of art hanging in the Malone building during the fair. You are probably thinking, 'NO WAY!' Well, I'm here to give you some good news: Your quilt doesn't have to be that elaborate or big. In fact it could be really small! You can enter anything quilted: bed quilts, lap quilts, pillows, table runners, wall hangings and even pot holders. Did you know that you can even enter miniature quilts? (word of warning - sometimes smaller can be harder) The other good news - you don't have to quilt it! There are many people who provide quilting service. Just visit your local quilt, fabric or craft store and they can probably recommend someone.

Speaking of fabric and craft stores.... If you aren't experienced in sewing or crafting most stores offer classes. Just because you made something in a class doesn't negate that you made it! Enter it! Check out the Premium Book to see what you can enter. Have fun!

We haven't had any requests for workshops so we haven't scheduled any yet. If you need help in a specific area or have a question please email with Super 17 in the subject line.

November 1, 2007

The selection of the 2008 Fair Logo is right around the corner. If you haven’t had a chance to see the designs, they are on the home page. The Logo will be selected at the next Fair Association meeting November 12th.

A logo design for the 2009 Island County Fair is one of the requirements of the Super 17 Challenge. Here’s a few things to consider in creating a design:

  1. Keep it simple. The logo sets the theme for the Fair. The logo is going to be printed on t-shirts, hats, advertisements, schedules, etc., so it should be clean and fun.

  2. Only two or three colors are used during the Fair so make sure the logo can be used with limited colors. (It’s easier for the judges to visualize what it will look like if it’s black and white.)

  3. Keep the motto short. The motto is a catch phrase and does not have to rhyme. In fact, some of the more fun mottos don't rhyme.

  4. It must include the phrase 'Island County Fair' and '2009'.

  5. You can use any medium to create your logo: drawing, watercolor, computer, cut and paste, etc.

Check with the Fair Office to see some of the past winners. Maybe they will give you some inspiration!

October 1, 2007

Hey everyone! Our first year running the Super 17 Challenge was a great success! We had 23 participants in the Challenge and 5 people completed all 17 classes! There was a tie for the most blue ribbons in the Challenge entries so a ribbon count had to be made on all the exhibits the participants entered. Congratulations to Rhonda Permenter who led with 45 blue ribbons! Everyone's participation helped with the large increase in exhibits this year and generated alot of interest from other exhibitors to try the Challenge next year.

So, now it's time to look to 2008....

You need to start your wine and beer yesterday! Seriously, the saying is correct: Wine gets better with age. There's a great brew supply store in Anacortes. They will help you get everything you need to get started and they enjoy giving advice. Many people tried the Orange Mead Recipe (.pdf, 41KB) Terry Permenter provided this year. Rhonda says if you want to get the best results - DO NOT ALTER THE RECIPE! It takes about two months to work and you don't need to make a huge investment in equipment. If you aren't comfortable tackling the science (or not) of beer and wine making, never fear - you have the option of entering a beer label and a wine label.

Peaches, pears, apples and tomatoes are in season so now is the time to do some canning and/or dehydrating. Make sure you follow the USDA guidelines for food preservation. The upcoming cool winter months are perfect for sewing, quilting and needlework projects. It's never too early to get projects off the list!