Taking the Plunge into the Santa Cruz County Fair

Have you ever entered into a County Fair? Come along on this blogger's journey as she enters the Santa Cruz County Fair for the first time ever.

I really did it this time. I jumped into the deep end just like those Olympic Divers who take a high-dive off the board without a second thought, except there is one tiny problem. I am not an Olympic diver or any other kind of diver, period. Yes, I did it, and I did it good, or bad, depending on how you look at it. I entered the Santa Cruz County Fair for the first time ever. Not one little token trinket for a test of the water, but instead I took the plunge by entering five photos, an apple pie and my own recipe of canned pears that has become a tradition in our house. But wait there's more—I am still trying to find a way to enter in my own house-favorite pear pie that doesn’t have two crusts, and then there is that other photo I found...oh boy. The possibilities are endless.

The truth is, my kids have entered items into the Fair over the years, and our school always has a nice display of the student's work. My daughter has entered a collection this year, too. But when it came to Fair entries, it was everybody but me. Each year, I have a great time looking at all the things that people make or have grown. I look forward to it just to see all of the amazing entries presented by our most talented citizens. But there has always been something holding me back. Not a minor technicality such as forgetting the deadline or procrastination. This was something big, something huge, something monstrous, in fact it was…a pumpkin.

A pumpkin.

Yes, I said a pumpkin. You know, those big orange fleshy things that not only make a glorious pie, or dazzle your neighbors on Halloween, but if you grow the biggest one, then you get an honor like no other?  

Growing the biggest pumpkin is a goal in life that people like me just can’t put behind us. It has been a dream of mine since childhood to present one at the Fair. If my prize pumpkin was big enough, it would also have the honor of going to Half Moon Bay to be weighed against some of the nation’s largest. In the past I have grown some fairly sizable ones. I even got a 100-pounder one time, and that gave me lifetime bragging rights, but it didn’t bring me a Fair ribbon. That was probably due to the fact that I didn’t actually enter it into the Fair, but that is beside the point. It still wasn’t the biggest.

Well, now my pumpkin dreams are in the past since I now live in a very thick redwood forest. But all is not lost, I saw something that struck me, and a realization swept into my brain. I can actually help with that dream by entering another way, and unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly what that is now…this will have to wait until a blog after the Fair since I wouldn’t want to give a spoiler of my own Fair entries or future blogs. Keeping readers hanging is a long-time practice of writers like me who want to ensure a future audience. (Did I say that out loud?) It will have to be a cliffhanger of sorts, so stay tuned for more.

However, this “thing” helped me to realize that I don’t always have to go for the Gold Medal. A Silver, Bronze or even a regular participation medal would be an honor. (I know the fair doesn’t give medals; but one can have Olympic-sized dreams, right?) I am just saying that or nothing at all would be a fine. I don’t expect to win with my entries; I am doing this just to be a part of it and to have fun.

With the issues over this past year of the fairgrounds and speedway possibly facing closure, I asked myself why I wasn’t ever a part of it. , and one of those would be losing our beloved Fair. One of the best ways I can think of to support the Santa Cruz County Fair is to be a part of it.

If I can do it, so can you, and I mean that. Seriously, it isn’t so hard. What can you share with your fellow county residents? It is easy to enter. The deadline for mail-in entries has passed, but online entries for many sections (not all) are still open until late August. The Apple Pie Contest is also open, even for mail-in entries (and this one is FREE) until Sept. 4.  Take a look at the Fair entry guides, you might find yourself taking a leap off the high-dive as well.

Stay tuned, because I plan on keeping you updated on my crazy escapades while getting ready for the Fair. I will also follow up with full report, and any cliff-hanger resolution, when the judging is over and the last pig has left the barn.

I am “fairly” certain this is going to be a bunch of fun. Will you enter the Santa Cruz County Fair this year? Let us know!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Patty Newton August 06, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Good luck. Can't wait to see what the outcome it and what you will be entering. I have entered my jams and jellies in the past, was told I didn't stand a chance of winning anything either. I won several 1st place ribbons and one of them was considered for best of show. So you just never know : )
Cathy P. August 06, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I've been entering goodies in the Fair for at least 10 years. I LIVE to win ribbons from the Fair, blue, red, rainbow, it doesn't matter as long as I get a ribbon. I enter at least 2 or 3 kinds of cookies, some kind of cake, a bread loaf, and a candy item. I've always wanted to try the apple pie event but am intimidated by the "Veteran" bakers (you know who you are) who always win - and righfully so. I can't wait till the Fair!
Valerie Lemke August 06, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Thanks Patty, that is great to know that we all have a chance. Congratulations to you, as well, Best in Show is fantastic! Cathy, you should do it! Really, if this real newbie can do it, you should definitely enter. You really never know who can win until you try. For the Apple Pie Contest, previous winners of 1st or 2nd enter into their own Masters Division. It will be fun just to try. I can't wait neither!
Cathy P. August 07, 2012 at 02:35 PM
@Patty: how sad that someone told you you had no chance of winning anything, poo-poo on them. It's all about having fun anyway, and see, Best of Show, congrats! I'll watch for your winning entries this year.


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