By Sarah Naron
HOUSTON COUNTY – Entry forms and fees for the Home and Garden Division of the 2018 Houston County Fair must be received by the Houston County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office no later than Friday, March 9.
According to Extension Agent Mandy Patrick, forms and rule books for those interested in participating are still available at the Houston County Extension Office or online at http://houston.agrilife.org.
“It’s open to all residents of Houston County. Youth and adults are eligible to participate,” said Patrick of the Home and Garden division. “Unlike the livestock side – those youth have to be either a 4-H member or an FFA member – but on the home and garden side, we’re open to all the students in all the schools and to the adults.”
Among the categories participants can enter is art.
“There’s an elementary art division, so we can accept art from kindergarten through sixth-graders,” said Patrick. “And then, we have a junior high and high school division as well. And then, there’s an adult art section.”
Another category is canning, which Patrick described as a “fairly popular” competition.
“It has to be completed in the last year, so something that has been sitting on the shelf for two or three years or more would not be eligible,” Patrick explained.
“Our craft section is pretty wide open – we’ve taken decorative, painted glasses; we’ve had string art; we’ve had crocheting and needlework; some recycled, repurposed type items – so it’s really just as creative as they want to be,” Patrick explained.
Participants may also compete in the division’s food category.
“Our foods are typically all baked goods or candies,” Patrick explained. “We don’t accept pies, and we don’t accept savory type dishes. They’re usually a frosted cake, a bundt cake, brownies, cookies – things like that.”
Horticulture is another category offered in the division.
“They have to have grown their plant for three months,” said Patrick of competitors with live entries. “If they’re participating in floral design, obviously, you don’t have to have such a time limit on that. That is fresh arrangements – it can be fresh and floral, or it can be silk flowers.”
According to Patrick, the photography category is “probably the most popular.
“We divide it by color photos, black and white photos and digitally enhanced photos,” she explained. “There’s no specific topic; there’s not specific category that you have to do.”
Contestants are permitted to enter four photographs in each category.
“A lot of times, that’s a good way to participate that isn’t quite so hands-on,” Patrick pointed out. “You don’t have to be at the fair to present that.”
Also available is a woodworking category.
“That’s always really fun, to see what the kids come up with and how creative they are,” said Patrick. “That usually tends to be a family project, so it’s nice to see the families getting involved, working together on some of those woodworking projects.”
The quilting category, Patrick explained, is open only to adult competitors.
“You can submit handmade quilts or machined quilts,” she explained. “We also have an antique quilt division where it’s just for display – we don’t judge them, but if you had a really pretty historic or antique quilt that you wanted to put on display, we do accept those.”
Children wishing to submit a baby blanket or quilted item will be permitted to do so in the craft category, Patrick said.
Entry fees for youth competitors are $2 per entry, while adults will be charged $3 per entry.
“We run during the same schedule as the livestock show,” Patrick explained. “We start setting up the fairgrounds and everything on Monday, April 2, and that starts at five o’ clock. For the home and garden side, we set up in the civic center.”
Entries for the home and garden division will be accepted between the hours of 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3.
“The only thing we don’t accept at that time are the baked goods and the fresh flowers,” Patrick said. “We prefer to get those on Wednesday morning, right before the judging starts, so that they’re fresh and haven’t had to sit out overnight.”
Judging begins at approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday and typically concludes by 3 p.m. The civic center is then open for viewing of the entries Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
“And then, we start to clean up and put everything back and get ready for the sale on Friday,” Patrick said. “And then, we clean up again on Saturday.”
For more information, contact Patrick at 936-544-7502.
The Houston County Extension Office is located at 716 Wells St. in Crockett.
Sarah Naron may be reached via email at email@example.com.