Come One, Come All to the 5th Annual DC State Fair

7530239486_d09e9ca10f_bCome one, come all to the 5th Annual DC State Fair!

Contestants are gearing up for competition and putting their game faces on. Their jams and jellies are packed away waiting to be tasted, delicious ice cream is cooling in the freezer, and fruits and veggies are scrubbed up, ready for competition.

Now it’s up to you to come, see the judges in action, enjoy some good DC cookin’, shop for local art and end the day with a drink in our Biergarten. Have kids? Bring them to the Kids Corner where they’ll be entertained for hours.

Don’t forget to invite your friends! And if they ask, “What? DC has a state fair?” tell them it’s true! DC’s had a Fair for five years and it truly is a showcase of the artistic, culinary and agricultural talent that resides in DC.

A big thanks to our sponsors, judges and volunteers, for without them, the event wouldn’t be happening tomorrow from 12 to 7 at Old City Farm and Guild.

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Let There Be Beer!

For the first time in its history, the DC State Fair will be able to showcase local beer and other local drinks as part of the Fair’s activities.

Photo courtesy Union Kitchen.

Photo courtesy Union Kitchen.

A Biergarten will be open at the fairgrounds from 3 to 7 pm this Saturday, thanks to sponsorship by Union Kitchen. DC Brau, as well as wine, Bourbon & Byrd spirits and other specialty cocktails/mocktails will be sold at the Biergarten.

If you’re not a beer drinker, the Biergarten will be serving cocktails, such as the Bourbon & Byrd. It’s a refreshing drink of bourbon mixed with Runningbyrd Tea, the latter of which is crafted at Union Kitchen.

But we all know, it wouldn’t be a Biergarten without the brews. And DC Brau, Washington, D.C.’s first packaging brewery since 1956, will be selling a variety owif their award nning beers. The brewery opened in 2009 and is located in Northeast D.C.

“Buying local has so many upsides! Not only does it help stir the local economy by creating jobs and keeping food production within our city, it’s amazing to be in direct contact with the people making your food (and other locally made products),” says Gauri Sarin, co-owner and director of catering and special events for Union Kitchen. “It’s all about creating a community.”

Union Kitchen, located in Northeast D.C., is a food startup incubator. Numerous small businesses, such as Fair sponsors Thunder Beast, Tres Creole and Whisked, have had their start in the Kitchen’s 7,300 square foot warehouse.

IDs will be checked at the entrance to the Biergarten and over-21 guests will receive a wristband. Pricing will be between $5-7 for all alcoholic beverages. Tickets will be sold at the entrance that can be used to redeem for drinks at the bar.

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2014 DC State Fair Schedule

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Quick Change for Flower Arranging!

We’ve been taking a look for the rules on the Mason Jar Flower Arranging competition and we need to change one of the requirements.

Instead of flowers having to be grown in the District, they have to be purchased in the District. We’d prefer if you bought from local markets and farms. Extra points will be awarded to flowers grown in D.C., but it is no longer a requirement.

There is no entry deadline for this competition, but we highly recommend you fill out the form before dropping off your entry at the Fair this Saturday.

Thanks!

ENTRY FORM

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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 flowers (which must be locally grown or purchased at a local farmer’s market) 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. Note that contestants can also purchase their flowers at a DC farmer’s market.

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 www.DCStateFair.org.

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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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