Happy 150th Birthday, Nebraska. What better place to throw a statewide party than the fairgrounds in Grand Island? And what a party it was! We had a blast!
We met The Sower from atop the Capitol building in Lincoln, though he was the silent type and didn't have much to say.
There was even a display devoted to me!
It was also "Older Nebraskans Day" which meant I wasn't the oldest person in the room for a change.
The fair had many educational exhibits...
I'll say that's a small animal...looks like a single cell to me.
The winners from the horticulture division.
Creative use of junked auto parts in woodworking (I loved this).
But the real reason we went was to gawk at Danny's entries. These four were his including the best of division. In total, he had 57 ribbons-23 of which were blue. It would be an understatement to say he's over the moon. We are too, but we were already proud of him, ribbons or not.
This here is what's left of the poppy seeds tea ring. Best of division. It was a large tea ring when he entered it...I guess the judges really
liked it. This was his second year winning the tea ring competition. Can he do a threepeat
next year? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess he probably will.
Decorated Nebraska 150 cookies...
...a cinnamon bun that looked better a week ago (sitting in the cases on display doesn't do baked goods any favours)
...and the beehive. I was disappointed the didn't cut into it as it contains a whopping two cups of honey and it was expensive to make-maybe they took a taste from the underside. It would be a shame to have skipped trying a cake that tasted as good as it looked.
There's Danny totaling up his wins in the various cases. He's estimating it should be around $300. USD in winnings which is convenient as he's looking to buy a new camera for birding. He's threatening to enter the photography contests next year.
I took some pies to the fair, as you do.
This was my plum pie-it came in fourth (I entered it in "Other" fruit pies, and it lost out to raspberry). The apple came second, the cherry second, and the rhubarb strawberry below was my first place pie. It was a surprise as it was the pie I thought would be least likely to ribbon. Go figure!
It turned out this year that the champion of previous years is no longer competing as she's now running a bakery. I don't know if the rules changed, but I think it was all for the good as it was discouraging to think I'd have to compete with a pro. I had a hard enough time against amateurs! We have some very skilled pie bakers in Nebraska.
The pies are judged live on stage, and believe me, it is nerve wracking! The woman sitting in front of me in this photo won best overall pie for her cherry entry-and it deserved it! I never saw such a beautiful pie. We were joking that it was a little like listening to someone being critical of your children, but in the end, there is good, useful criticism offered. It was great fun, and I'm happy to have the ribbons, but I don't think I'd do it again. I'll leave the baking to Danny.
There it is in the case. They only display a slice so you can take home the remainder of your pies. We're going to be eating a lot of pie over the next few days!
But make certain you wear your very best hat. As in previous years, I have a Nebraska State Fair cookbook with last year's winning entries available for the drawing winner, and this year I've also included a Nebraska 150 tea towel. Drawing is open worldwide, so leave a comment by Midnight CST 15 September 2017 to be entered.
I took my barn box bag to the fair. It attracted a lot of attention, as did my hat. I'm glad I dressed for the fair as it brought out more than a few smiles. It also brought out a drunk 90-something gentleman exclaiming, "Aren't you cute as a button!" Yeah, well...if you say so gramps.
We had a second loaf of the swirl bread at home, so I packed sandwiches to take with for a lunch picnic. Here's Mr. ETB showing off his lunch made of the same bread as the winning entry. Next year, we should stand in the parking lot handing out slices of prize-winning bread. By the time we get a perfect loaf, there can be as many as six not-so-perfect loaves. Needless to say, we have a freezer full of bread at the moment.
Finally, three cheers for all the employees and volunteers that make the fair such a great success year after year. It is an incredible amount of work that goes into organising and running this fair. Visitors only see that everything runs smoothly so they can experience a great time-behind the scenes there's an army of people working to make the State Fair the fun that it is. If they gave ribbons for hard work it would be blue ribbons all around. Thank You!
Don't forget to enter for your chance at the cookbook and tea towel. I'm already excited for next year!