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The Fair entries are in! 7/17/23

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Tiger Gardens is officially entered into the Champaign County Fairs and the Illinois State Fair for 2023! And it was a whirlwind entry situation. Here is our official date-stamped entry for the State Fair. I hand-delivered our county fair entries to the fair office (pic tomorrow.)

Next year, I will be able to post a comprehensive guide to entering your county and state fairs calmly and with ample preparation. But this year, I was *barely* able to get our entries in for no other reason than I wasn't prepared early enough, and life got in the way (or in my case the death of a family friend.)

All of a sudden it was July 17th and I didn't know when the exact deadline was for the county fair entries! I had been to a family funeral over the weekend, and vaguely remembered something about online entries being due July 14th. So I went onto the fair's website, and it said this:

Well that's rude. We weren't supposed to bring the entries to the fairgrounds until this coming Saturday, so I was a little confused. I went straight to the fair office, and they confirmed that yes, the entries were due today, and in fact due by 1pm, and it was 11:58am. Oh boy!

{Cue the Mission Impossible theme music. Click on the link to open in a new tab, start the video and come back to this tab to continue reading below my story from yesterday!}

I completed our entry forms by 12:37pm and went back to the office to see about the State Fair. (I mean, surely the deadline is later since we don't have to take entries to Springfield until August 7th, 2023 -- nope!)

Here is what I found on their website:

So all I had to do now was put together our entry form, go home to get a check, and get our entry to the post office by 6:30pm. I got off work at 4:45pm, got home to finish our entry, and left the house at 5:50pm for the post office.

To say I made it "by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin" is the understatement of the year. (Now just sit back and enjoy the rest of this fun/familiar theme music!)

The story above is what *not* to do when entering the fair competitions.

The story below is what *to* do when entering the fair competitions.

  1. Have a general idea of the deadline for each fair in mind. HINT: they occur at the same time each year. Duh!

  2. Open the Fair booklet online and take note of the entry deadline.

  3. (And this is key ...) Send in the application before the deadline. They give you ample notice and clear instructions for entry.

  4. Make all your delicious goodies and then take them to the designated locations at the time of entry. For the Champaign County Fair, the location is Kessler Hall on the Fairgrounds behind Carle Hospital. The entries are to be taken to the Hall on July 22nd between 8am and 9am and afixed with entry tags for each entry. NOTE: the entries must be completed by 9am, as the judging starts immediately thereafter. For the Illinois State Fair, the entries are taken to the Culinary Exhibit Hall between August 7th and 13th, 2023. Judging is August __, and the results posted online within the following 3 days. Here are the results from last year's State Fair:

Now, why is this so important? You may ask ...

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