competition

OC Fair's Creative Competitions Are Now Open

Making jellies, designing quilts, carving wood, baking cakes: The creative categories are plentiful, local makers.

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What to Know

  • OC Fair 2022 is July 15 through Aug. 14 (select dates)
  • The fair's annual competitions, from baking to livestock to photography, are a centerpiece of the month-long event
  • Entry deadlines vary for the 20+ competitions, and some categories are free to enter; note that some categories may only be open to Orange County residents

Wondrous woodworking, fanciful flower arranging, the simmering of gooily gorgeous jams: You might be the sort of maker who has a notable knack for a craft, a calling, cooking, or a way of putting materials together in an exciting, visual, useful, and/or appetizing way.

If so, here's something thrilling: It is now time for you to go for that coveted blue ribbon, literally, and the honors that come from winning big at a big county fair.

The OC Fair, which has brought joy, yumminess, interesting competitions, thrills, and utter animal adorableness to Southern Californians since the late 19th century, most definitely qualifies as big, and its annual competitions? They're known for attracting some of the most talented bakers, photographers, quilters, and vintners around.

If you're already reaching for your favorite awl, go-to measuring spoons, or lucky pair of knitting needles, you're way ahead of us: The call to creative Southern Californians has been sounded from the Costa Mesa spectacular, and entries for the 2022 extravaganza are now being accepted.

Of course, you do have a bit of time to stitch that last stitch, to rearrange your table scaping plan, or try a different ingredient with your most-loved cookie recipe, but you won't want to wait for mid-July, when the fair officially begins, to enter.

Deadlines do vary, by competition, with some falling near the end of May, some in June, and others at other points on the calendar.

Important: Some categories may only be open to Orange County residents, so be sure to know the rule on residency before you enter.

Reading up on the category you're keen on, and knowing all of the rules, is your first step, before you try jarring a zesty honey that's sure to please the judges or quickly completing that elegant embroidery project you've diligently worked on over the winter.

If you are awarded a ribbon, do you already have a place for it? Surely you must, and that's good, for dreaming of a well-earned county fair victory, an honor bestowed for something you've envisioned, built, or baked from scratch, is truly as American as apple pie.

And speaking of sweet eats, Sugar Arts & Confections is one of the competitive categories. Cookies, cakes, and gelatin, too, all get their own separate spotlights, so you best get to dreaming about the delicious and delightful creation you'll whip up for the oh-so-prestigious OC Fair.

Start here, makers, and good luck!

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