2015 DC State Fair Schedule

Throughout the day on the main stage, you’ll be able to see contests being judged by our expert judges (see schedule below). 

In addition to watching the contests, you’ll be able to enjoy performances by musicians Lennon English and the New Soul Republic and Gramophonic, and demonstrations from the National Hand Dance Association and the YMCATiny House owner and designer Jay Austin will host tours of his house at the top of each hour. DJ Fusion will be the DC State Fair’s official DJ, delivering an eclectic range of tunes.

In addition to the food and drink vendors around the fair grounds, there will be a Biergarten from 12-8pm, hosted by Whole Foods Market.

We will also have an tent with educational workshops running  from 12-6:30pm (click here for the schedule).

12 – 12:30pm Lennon English and the New Soul Republic
12:30 – 1pm Welcome!

Announce photography, kids art & poetry, knit/crochet contest winners.

1 – 1:30pm YMCA Workout Demo
1:30 – 2pm Judge and announce winners for ice cream contest.
2 – 2:15pm Announce cut flower, flower arrangement contests.
2:15 – 3pm Judge and announce winners of funkiest, longest, heaviest veggie and heaviest fruit contest.

Announce tastiest tomato and compost contest winners.

3 – 3:15pm Announce pie contest finalists.
3:15 – 3:45pm National Hand Dance Association
3:45 – 4pm Announce jam and jelly contest winners.
4 – 4:15pm Announce pickled foods winners.
4:15 – 4:45pm Final judging and announce winners of best bud contest.
4:45 – 5pm Crochet contest winners announced.
5 – 5:30pm Final pie contest judging. Winners announced.
5:30-5:45pm Honey contest winners announced.
5:30 – 6pm Final homebrew contest judging. Winners announced.
6:30 – 8pm TBD

For a schedule of contest drop-off, judging and announcements, click here.

New this year – Agriculture, Food, and Craft Demos!

For the first year ever, we will have a tent solely devoted to educational demos. Check out our lineup of workshops and click on the links below for more info on the workshops and instructors.

12:00- 12:30pm: Rose Care by Byron Gwinn,  Frager’s Hardware

12:45 – 1:15pm: Growing Traditional Ethnic Crops and Why This is Important by Yao  Afantchao, University of DC

1:30-2:00pm: Terrarium Craft by Byron Gwinn, Frager’s Hardware

2:15-2:45pm: Healthy Cooking, YMCA

3:00-3:30pm: Yoga for Beginners by Ben Sislen, Shaw Yoga

3:45-4:15pm: Fall Gardening/Winterizing Your Garden by Caroline, Neighborhood Farm Initiative

4:30-5:00pm: How to Cook Delectable Risotto, Chef Matt Finarelli

5:15:5:45pm: Container Gardening by Caroline, Neighborhood Farm Initiative

6:00-6:30pm: Tiny Houses, Jay Austin

Workshop Descriptions

12:00 – 12:30pm: Rose Care by Byron Gwinn,  Frager’s Hardware

The Rose Care workshop will cover the following topics: selecting a rose for the area, proper dead heading, and after winter pruning.

Byron Gwinn is the Assistant Manager at Frager’s Garden center and garden design consultant. As well as owning and operating Gwinn Landscape Design LLC native/organic driven  garden design.  Masters of Landscape Design candidate at  GWU. All around plant geek.

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12:45 – 1:15pm: Growing Traditional Ethnic Crops and Why This is Important, Yao Afantchao at UDC

This workshop will cover the creation of an ethnic food system in Washington DC, through making ethnic crops available, accessible and affordable.

Yao Afantchao is the leading specialist in the ethnic and specialty crops program, at the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) University of the District of Columbia. As an MCE program specialist, Mr. Afantchao contributed to the ethnic vegetables program with the following outcomes (1) ethnic and specialty program recognition at the University of Maryland research and education center; (2) dissemination of ethnic vegetables production guide to farmers; (3) adoption of ethnic and specialty vegetables by Maryland farmers including Amish and Mennonite farmers; (4) expansion of specialty produce acreage bringing additional profit to farmers; and (5) ethnic vegetable markets expansion including Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West States. Mr. Afantchao has received several recognitions and awards including smoke house grant, (Maryland Industrial Partnerships) the Mid-Atlantic Food and Farm Summit’s Farming Leadership award and the most prestigious Honorary County Agent and Service to Agriculture award.

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1:30 – 2:00pm: Terrarium Craft, Byron Gwinn from Frager’s Hardware

The Terrarium Craft workshop will cover the following topics: the importance of the layers, choosing a container, and long term care.

Byron Gwinn is the Assistant Manager at Frager’s Garden center and garden design consultant. As well as owning and operating Gwinn Landscape Design LLC native/organic driven  garden design.  Masters of Landscape Design candidate at  GWU. All around plant geek.

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2:15 – 2:45pm: Healthy Cooking, YMCA

Description coming soon…

3:00 – 3:30pm: Yoga by Ben Sislen, Shaw Yoga

Namaste Shaw! We are thrilled to open the doors of our light-filled studio to the Shaw and greater DC Community. Yoga means union: of body and mind, of individuals, of intention and action. Shaw Yoga sits at a crossroads in DC. Walk out of the studio and look left, and you see the houses and smaller businesses of Uptown. Look right, and the bustle of Downtown greets you. Across the street sits the Convention Center. To this urban union point, we bring the uniting opportunity of yoga. Come relax, breathe, stretch, sweat, strengthen, and grow with us.

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3:45 – 4:15pm: Fall Gardening/Winterizing Your Garden by Caroline Selle, Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Winter doesn’t have to mean an end to the garden. Join us as we discuss the optimal fall crops for climate and some simple ways to extend the growing season.

Caroline Selle grew up gardening and is passionate about food and climate justice and about bringing diverse groups together around food growing. She holds a self-designed degree in Environmental Outreach and Communications from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Permaculture Design Certificate from Oregon State University, and is pursuing her interests in botany and soil science. Caroline has grown food on a historic plantation and on the St. Mary’s campus farm, which she helped to found. She is working on turning her yard into an edible landscape

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4:30 – 5:00pm: Cooking Risotto, Chef Matt Finarelli

In this workshop, he’ll be demonstrating one of his favorite dishes – risotto. This rice dish, popular in Northern Italy is one that people seem to have trouble mastering, but it all comes down to a few simple tricks that Chef Matt will demonstrate. And of course, at the end, there’ll be plenty for everyone to sample!

Chef Matt Finarelli is a DC-area native having grown up just across the river in Arlington, VA. In his many years as a chef and culinary instructor, he’s taught thousands of people in the area to love not just the eating of food, but the cooking as well! Featured in cooking schools around the area like the Hill Center in DC, he also gives lessons right in student’s homes, so you can enjoy great food, great times and learn a little something along the way.

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5:15 – 5:45pm: Container Gardening by Caroline Selle, National Farm Initiative

Container gardening can be simple and productive. Learn how to grow fresh herbs and vegetables on your balcony, windowsill, or patio.

Caroline grew up gardening and is passionate about food and climate justice and about bringing diverse groups together around food growing. She holds a self-designed degree in Environmental Outreach and Communications from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Permaculture Design Certificate from Oregon State University, and is pursuing her interests in botany and soil science. Caroline has grown food on a historic plantation and on the St. Mary’s campus farm, which she helped to found. She is working on turning her yard into an edible landscape.

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6:00 – 6:30: Tiny House, Jay Austin

Jay Austin is the  is currently living in the Matchbox,  which is a Tiny House stationed at  Old City Farm and Guild. He will be giving tours at the top of every hour and will be in the education tent at 6pm to tell you about the Tiny House concept, where it originated and why people are choosing a different lifestyle.  Find out more at the Tiny House.

Having grown up in a mix of very small homes, very large homes, and a few in-between homes, Jay has come to realize that greater space doesn’t always (if ever) equate with greater happiness. From an early age, Jay found myself very drawn to the idea of minimalist living: of finding a dwelling to suit one’s life, not finding a life to suit one’s dwelling. This notion has manifested itself in a variety of appealing-but-yet-unrealized forms of tiny living, ranging from sailboat to RV, from houseboat to shipping container home, and ultimately, to the house-on-wheels that I’m currently building, which I’m calling the Matchbox.

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Questions? Contact the us at board@thedcstatefair.org.

A Word from our Best Bud Sponsor

Let’sGrowDC is the sponsor of the 2015 Best Bud competition. 

image1At Let’sGrowDC, we are committed to building a vibrant urban gardening culture in the District through education, supply, and custom design.

At our core, we are an indoor garden supply, though our scope is much wider. What sets us apart from other gardening supply shops is our consultative approach. We cater to new growers and want them to build confidence and feel they can rely on us as a trusted advisor from seed to harvest. To accomplish this, we are proud to offer advice, educational blogs, and gardening classes free-of-charge.

image3We also specialize in creating customized indoor, outdoor, and rooftop gardens. No project is too big or small for our design studio, which works with clients to make sure their individual vision and needs will be met. We then work with independent contracts who are fully licensed and bonded in the District of Columbia to fulfill the design. Finally, we can provide ongoing maintenance and advice to keep the garden operating smoothly.

Whatever your vision may be, we at Let’sGrowDC will work with you every step of the way to make it a reality.

Let's grow DC logoFor individual consultations or to RSVP for our free classes, contact us at 202-525-4409 or

Check out or weekly educational blog at letsgrowdc.tumblr.com

Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/letsgrowdc


New to the Fair: Cut Flower Contest

Bring your cut flower to the DC State Fair on Sept. 12.

You wake up early on Saturday, September 12, the sun is shining through your window, and you can tell it’s going to be a beautiful day: dew drops still coating blades of grass, not a cloud in the sky, and birds singing in the air.

You’re competing in the DC State Fair Flower Arrangement Contest; so you walk out to your garden to make a bouquet, but there, in the center of your garden, you spot one flower more stunning than the others. It stands taller than any other flowers in your garden — it has a deeper, brighter color, the stem is sturdy and strong, and the petals are fuller than any you’ve seen before.

“Ah ha!” you exclaim. “There is a Cut Flower competition at the Fair this year. And this beaut will be the star of the show!” So you carefully kneel down and snip it with sharp scissors so you don’t bruise the stem, put it in a vase, and bring it to the Fair where master gardeners assess its color, stem and foliage, form, and size or variety.

If you have a garden, gaze around it and see if there is one that stands out from the rest.There’s nothing like bringing your homegrown best of the best to the Fair.

Learn more about the first DC State Fair Cut Flower Contest and register to compete by September 5. You can drop off your entry at Old City Farm and Guild on September 12 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bottles will be provided at the fair to protect the flowers before judging; all flowers will be judged in bottles that are the same size and type.

Enter Your Garden’s Gold for the Blue

Photo by Nicholas Saumweber, courtesy USDA.

Photo by Nicholas Saumweber, courtesy USDA.

Compost. To an unknown observer it’s dirt—steamy dirt with worms and bugs crawling through it, and yes, it smells kind of like feet. But to gardeners, it’s gold.

Compost is created from food scraps (veggies, fruits, grains), leaves, sticks and other garden debris. It then is left to rot (hence the smell of feet), sitting for about 3 months and occasionally turned by the gardener, so it can break down into a nutrient-rich, soil-like material.

Gardeners need a healthy balance of nutrients for their plants, and compost definitely delivers; it helps strengthen the soil so that plants can easily root and grow. Compost also keeps water in the soil for those hot, dry summer days when plants need moisture the most.

But not all compost is created equal, which is why we are having the first-ever compost competition this year at the DC State Fair. Judges will be able to tell which gardener’s compost has the most nutrients by assessing composition (are there living things in the compost?), consistency (will it retain moisture?), bouquet (how does it smell?), garden-appeal (will it work in your garden?), and the story behind the compost.

Learn more about the first DC State Fair Compost Contest, and register to compete by September 5. You can drop off your container of compost at Old City Farm and Guild on September 12 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Interested in making your own garden gold? Click here to learn about the basics of composting.


Calling all DC Homebrewers!

Is your IPA ready for prime time? Do people rave about your lager? Have you got a secret recipe for a killer stout?

Do you think your beer has what it takes to bring home the blue ribbon?

It is time for the DC State Fair’s annual Homebrew Competition where homebrewers from around the District will showcase their best recipes and compete for prizes and bragging rights.

Beers will be judged in five main flavor profile categories, including:

  • Hop
  • Malt
  • Roast, Smoke, and Wood
  • Yeast
  • Fruit and Spice

In addition, one beer will be awarded “Best in Show.” Special recognition will also be given to beers brewed with “Homegrown” DC ingredients.

To enter, drop off two UNMARKED bottles of your brew (12 oz to 25.4 oz (750 ml) at either of the below drop off spots.

Drop Off Spot #1 – Right Proper Brewing (624 T Street NW), between 2-5 pm, Friday August 28 only! 

Drop Off Spot #2 – 3 Stars Brewing (6400 Chillum Place NW), the homebrew shop, any other times. They are open 3 – 8 pm on Friday, August 28 and 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday, August 29. 

Note: Please be sure to include a piece of paper identifying your beers with your name and the name of the entry; the paper must be secured with a rubberband, any bottles with glue will be disqualified.

Please see all homebrew rules on the DC State Fair web site.

Remember, Pabst was nothing until it won the Blue Ribbon — now it’s PBR! See you at the Fair!

enter now button

Calling Kids to Compete in the Fair

Winner of last year's DC State Fair Kid's Art Contest.

Winner of last year’s DC State Fair Kid’s Art Contest.

A sense of pride fills a child who posts his or her artwork to the refrigerator door, for all to see. But what about sharing that artwork with the DC community at the DC State Fair?

The DC State Fair has Art and Poetry Contests available for kids of all ages (preschool through 9th grade). This year, we are partnering with the Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St NW) to host Art Sundays, to give children a supportive space to practice their creativity.

And instead of bringing the artwork home, it can be entered into the DC State Fair Art and Poetry competition (all entries are due by September 6 at 5pm). All artwork will be displayed at the DC State Fair on September 12, and the first, second and third place winners in Art and Poetry will be awarded a ribbon.

The library will provide assorted paper, glue, crayons, pencils, and scissors to inspire the imagination. Kids can bring any other materials they wish to use to create their masterpiece. Art Sundays will take place on August 23, August 30, and September 6 from 2pm to 3pm at the Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St NW). Contest sign-up forms are required and can be filled out at the library.

As a bonus, the Shaw Neighborhood Library will give prizes to the winners in each category. Library representatives will also be at the Fair to share general information about how to get involved in your local DC Public Library. For more information regarding the contests, please visit DCStateFair.org/2015-Contests.

Volunteer Meet and Greet

DC State Fair volunteers are the best!

DC State Fair volunteers are the best!

If you have signed up to volunteer at the Fair, we hope you’ll make it to the Volunteer Meet and Greet. Meet the board members and other volunteers at Right Proper Brewing Company on August 26th from 6-8pm. If you haven’t signed up to volunteer yet, you can do so at the Meet and Greet.

Date: Wednesday, August 26
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Place: Right Proper Brewing Company
624 T Street NW

Learn about the available volunteer positions and sign up now!

Questions? Contact our volunteer coordinator Jenn Nichols at jenn@thedcstatefair.org.

DCSF’s First Ever Pet Parade

Note that Pet Parade signup is now closed. If you haven’t already filled out an entry form, you will not be able to enter into the contests. All pets are invited to march! Before coming to the Parade, please review the DC Government’s rules and regulations below.

Bring your friendly pet on a leash, or in a cage, tank, or aquarium to the DC State Fair for the First Annual DC Pet Parade! Costumes (for you and your pet) are encouraged, but not required.

The parade route has changed due to a high number of entries. The parade will start on September 12, 2015 at 12:30pm. All DC Pet Parade participants should gather at 10th and Rhode Island Ave. NW, just to the left of Old City Farm and Guild, by noon to check in. All contest participants will gather back to the Parade start area for judging.

The parade will begin and end at 10th and Rhode Island Ave. NW at 12:30 pm. Please arrive for check in at 12:00 pm.

Leading the way as the Marshall on the parade route will be a CELEBRITY PET—stay tuned for more details.

Unfortunately, registration is closed. There is no fee to register, but you MUST have registered before September 1st in order to enter in contests. See below for specific rules and regulations from the DC government that participants must review  before the day of the Fair.

Everyone who participates in the Pet Parade will get a commemorative ribbon. There will also be contests with prizes for:

  • Pet/owner look-alike (non-costume)
  • Pet/owner look-alike (costume)
  • Best costume (animal only)

Don’t have a pet, or have space in your house and heart for more? The Washington DC Humane Society will be on site with lovable critters you can meet and adopt.


  1. If any prohibited animals such as livestock wish to participate in the parade then they require a Special Event/Exotic Animal Permit from the DC Department of Health. Requirements for Special Event/Exotic Animal Permit vary per species of animal therefore the participants with exotic animals must contact the DoH within 48 business hours of the event in order to attain their permit.
  2. All animals must be leashed and walked on no longer than a four foot lead.
  3. All dogs who are District residents must have a current DC Dog License.
  4. All dog participants must be current on Rabies and Distemper vaccines and owners must have vaccination paperwork onsite. Cats must be current on Rabies vaccine and owners must also have the current vaccination paperwork onsite.
  5. DC Animal Care and Control will be conducting random unannounced inspections and any animal found that is not in compliance with any of the District Animal Control Codes run the risk of impoundment at the owner’s expense and or dismissal from the District.

After the parade, you are invited to stay and participate in Fair and/or beer garden. Learn more about the 2015 DC State Fair contests and schedule.