Fair welcomes contest entries

Calls for entries for this year’s San Diego County Fair competitive exhibits have started.
Deadlines, with many in May, vary.

According to Nicola Martinez, exhibits supervisor with the fair, approximately 80,000 entries are received each year, and that number does not include participants for their youth field trip programs.

“We’ve changed the name of our best of K- 6th grade department to best of pre-K to sixth grade to include pre-schools,” said Martinez via email. “There is no fee to enter best of pre-K to sixth grade. Last year it was $15 per class up to 35 students per entry and we have eliminated that fee to help get more schools to participate as our initiative for 2019 is to focus on our youth programs.”

The ribbons, awards and cash remain a draw for entrants as well.

“It’s pretty incredible how amazing our awards and donated awards are,” she said. “For example the exhibition of photography offers more than $25,000 in cash awards and ribbons alone.”

“We are enhancing our senior program Planting with Pride, said Martinez.

New classes in the divisions such as sewing and quilting have been added.

With the student showcase, new media has been renamed web design and development, with new divisions such as theatrical/costume/fair theme, fashion design, maker labs and energy/power sources group project.

Additionally yearbooks only have to have one copy, unlike two before to enter. Several local high schools did well in the yearbook category last year, Hilltop High School, under the guidance of Courtney Petersen, landed a best in class for their yearbook as did Otay Ranch High School under Dan Kray’s direction.

Chula Vista resident Stephen Kilburn’s entry last year, won best of show, for his meadery, cider, perry semi-sweet mead.

“I used to make wine with my grandfather, so I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to mead,” said Kilburn.

“Like wine, I think mead should have three ingredients, honey, water and yeast. Most meads have added fruit, spice, herbs for flavor and variety. I’m not against adding flavors but for the fair I wanted to use just the three ingredients to keep with the style of traditional mead.”

Kilburn, who has been entering the homebrew competition for six years with good results typically, almost shared his secret to the best of show mead.

“Mead is basically honey wine, so my flavors and my secret comes from the honey,” he said. “I use very expensive, rare and exotic honey.”

“The best part of entering the BJCP sanctioned competitions are the tasting notes you get back from the judges,” he said. “Those notes help you to realize how closely you came to brewing the beer you set out to create. They highlight your strengths and weaknesses and help you to improve technique.”

Entry dates and delivery dates can vary to compete in this year’s fair. Visit: http://sdfair.com to keep up on dates, rules, categories, fees, and delivery dates. The fair opens May 31.