Contest Deadlines Extended

7497742788_5551c02281_oContest registration deadlines that were set for September 13th and 15th have been extended to September 17th at 11:59pm. Find out more about our contests and deadlines here or click the contest link below. 

Art: Photography ContestKids’ Art ContestKids’ Poetry Contest

Honey: Honey Contest

Home Cooking: Pie ContestIce Cream Contest

Crafts: Sewing ContestKnit and Crochet ContestHats for Newborns

Flowers: Mason Jar Flower Arrangements 

Vegetables and Fruits: Funkiest-Looking Vegetable ContestLongest Vegetable ContestHeaviest Vegetable ContestHeaviest Fruit Contest

Prepared Foods: Pickled Foods ContestJam & Jelly ContestFermented Vegetable Contest (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.)

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Thinking Outside the Mason Jar

Photo courtesy Bethany Karn

Photo courtesy Bethany Karn

Flower Arranging. It’s the most recent addition to the DC State Fair contest lineup, and contest coordinator Bethany Karn urges Washingtonians to “think outside the Mason jar.” What do Mason jars have to do with flower arranging, you ask? Everything at this year’s Fair, since participants must creatively arrange their local flowers in a Mason jar.

Sign up for the Flower Arranging Contest now!

The flower arranging contest judging will be based on four different aspects: the creative and ingenious use of the Mason jar (as a vase); in addition to color, composition and overall design in the flower arrangement.

Karn suggests that Mason jars have recently been written off as simple, unfashionable and overused, and she wants to give a nod to the fact that they are affordable, cute and authentically all-purpose. “Everyone can get their hands on a Mason jar. People can be creative and do what they want to the jar, and dress it up,” says Karn. For tips on what to do with your jar, Karn suggests you peruse Pintrest for countless ideas.

As for the actual arrangement itself, Karn says that this time of year is the peak of flower season in the District, so contestants should have no issue putting together a beautiful bouquet of flowers grown in DC. Flowers like dahlias, sweet autumn clematis, celosias, sedum, black eyed Susan’s, sunflowers, and marigolds are flowering right now in DC.

Photo courtesy Bethany Karn.

Photo courtesy Bethany Karn.

Karn is founder and designer of Butterkup Flowers, which brings locally sourced flower arrangements to you. ButterKup Flowers is only one of two florists in the District that source locally and they even offer DIY classes for brides who want to make their own flower arrangements. Karn started working in this field after a self-described midlife crisis and career change 8 years ago. She has loved working in the local, sustainable niche of the flower industry ever since.

The fifth annual DC State Fair will take place on September 20th from 12pm-7pm at Old City Farm and Guild in Washington DC, as a way to highlight the artistic, culinary, and agricultural talents of Washingtonians. Find out more at

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Food Safety is the Name of the Game at the Fair

7530239226_fc09ed7e51_oWhether you’re canning jams and jellies, fermenting veggies or pickling foods for the Fair, food safety should be the name of the game. And this year, DC State Fair expects the best of the best when it comes to preserved foods; not only in taste and texture but in the quality of the product.

Humans have been canning food since the late 18th century when Napoleon Bonaparte asked for a solution to the navy’s food spoilage problems. And they have been fermenting foods since 7000 BC when they discovered that they could ferment fruit, rice and honey to produce alcoholic beverages. Though these processes go back hundreds and thousands of years, proper procedures still must be taken today to ensure a product is safe to consume.

Unfortunately, if the preservation process is done incorrectly, harmful bacteria, fond of tightly packed food products, can grow in your food. That’s why it is important to follow proper procedures when preserving foods. If you are going to be involved in canning, pickling or fermenting foods this summer, consider reading up on safe processes and methods from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and University of Minnesota Extension.

And if you’re entering a fair contest, make sure to follow the following rules:

  1. All entries must be exhibited in clear glass, standard home-canning jars in half-pint (8 oz.), pint (16 oz) or quart (32 oz.) size. Products in fluted or blue-tinted jars will not be accepted. Use self-sealing jars only with two-piece metal canning lids (flat lid and band).
  2. The lid (not the glass) must be labeled with the product name and the date processed.
  3. All jars must be clean and have lids and bands free from mold and rust.
  4. All entries must have been processed after September 28, 2013. (No entries should have been canned prior to September 28, 2013.)
  5. All entries must be shelf-stable. Entries preserved in alcohol, entries that require refrigeration, fermented foods, unsealed jars, entries canned with paraffin, and entries that show signs of spoilage will not be accepted.

When you enter the jam & jelly, pickled foods and fermented vegetable contests, we ask that you do so, ready to use the utmost safety standards. Remember that the picked foods contest entry deadline is Sept 13th whereas the jam & jelly and fermented vegetable contests entry deadlines are Sept 15th.

The DC State Fair is proud to announce Whole Foods P Street and Tenleytown as our sponsors of the 2014 Pickling Contest! Winning entries using any ingredients purchased at Whole Foods Market (please provide a receipt when dropping off your entry) will be eligible to display their recipe at an upcoming event at a Whole Foods market in DC.

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Join Us for DC State Fair 101

14187585727_9b6ed9e571_zDo you want to learn more about DC’s State Fair? Are you interested in acquiring a new skill? Join us for DC State Fair 101 where you’ll

  • Hear from DC State Fair about our various Fair contests;
  • Watch Looped Yarn Works as they showcase a knitting demo;
  • Learn the secrets to successful gardening from Old City Farm & Guild and Homegrown DC.

DC State Fair 101 will be held in cooperation with Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library at the library, this Saturday, September 6th from 2-4pm.

If you’re busy this weekend, make sure you mark your calendars on September 20th for the DC State Fair. To learn more about the Fair and available contests, visit

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Announcing the 2014 DC State Fair contests!

James, one of our 2013 Pie Contest judges.

The 2014 DC State Fair contests are now open! Read on for more information and a list of contests with links to entry forms. Each entry form includes exhibitor guidelines and deadlines. The last day to enter most contests is 11:59 PM ET on Monday, September 17.

Best of luck to all exhibitors and we’ll see you at the Fair on September 20 at the Old City Farm and Guild!

Please contact Christine Perez at with questions on any of our contests.


Click on each contest title for more information and an online entry form. Deadlines listed are by midnight unless otherwise noted. Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates about these competitions and other DC State Fair news.



Pie Contest, Sponsored by Whole Foods Market Tenley and Whole Foods Market P Street

  • Pie Contest (best overall, best crust, best apple pie, and best savory) Entry Deadline September 15

Ice Cream



Vegetables and Fruits

Prepared Foods

What are the prizes?

Each first, second, and third place winner will receive ribbons and the opportunity to showcase your items and recipes at DC State Fair events throughout the year. Some contests may have additional small prizes.

Can I sponsor a contest?

We welcome businesses and organizations to sponsor contests. Fair vendor spots are also available. Interested? Contact

Other contests

Stay tuned for information this fall on our very popular Homebrew Contest! It’s such a hit that we’ve decided to operate it as a separate special event. Stay updated by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Seedling Swap this Saturday, June 7th

Overloaded with onions? Have piles of peas? Strained by squash? Bring seedlings and your extra fruit and vegetable plants to share at the DC State Fair’s annual seedling swap at Eastern Market on June 7th from 11am to 1pm.

2012 DC State Fair Seedling Swap

Swappers check the seedlings on offer at the 2012 Seedling Swap.

Bring your seedlings and “swap” them with other gardeners to get rid of your extras and gain different seedling varieties. If you have extra crops growing in your garden that you’d like to get rid of, put ‘em in pots and bring them to the Swap. We’ll even have some empty mini-pots available at the event for anyone who needs to transplant plants from buckets/flats.

Participants should plan to drop off seedlings and other plants between 11am and 11:30am at our tent, on 7th and C Streets SE. The first swap round will begin at11:30am. All varieties are welcome, including herbs, vegetables, and fruits. The swap is free to participate. Wondering what to bring to the swap? Check out this list from last year’s swap!

If you don’t have seedlings or transplants to trade, stop by our tent to purchase them from Three Part Harmony Farm.

Find out more on our Facebook page.

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What to bring to a seedling swap

woman in scuba gearOveralls? A prom dress? Scuba gear? Sure, wear ‘em all. It’s not so much about how you gussy up for the DC State Fair Seedling Swap, but what you bring.

Here’s what we suggest:

Seedlings you’ve grown or bought (although if you don’t have any, you are still very welcome to come!), labeled with at the very least plant name and variety (growing info would be great, too!)

Some tips to share about how to grow the seedlings you’re bringing

1 cardboard box or tray big enough to hold at least 4 to 6 seedlings–bring several in case you walk home with more

1 notebook to record ideas, stash instructions on building a raised bed, and jot down the contact info of your new gardener friends

Your phone with camera and Twitter to share the event using the #seedlingswap hashtag

1 Rubbermaid-style 5-gallon plastic bin to make a worm bin

1 old shoe to grow a sunflower

Cash for contributions and purchasing unique seedlings and plant starts (ginger, turmeric, and more!) from Three Part Harmony Farm

Questions? E-mail us. See you there!

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