Prepare Now

Connie Holland
Adams County Master Gardener

(5/3) Now that it seems spring finally is here, it is not too early to start planning for the South Mountain Fair. The fair opens this year on August 2 at 4 pm and runs through August 6. This date is much earlier than previous fairs, so please take note of the early date.

There will be a lot going on at this 94th South Mountain Fair, and it is fun for all ages. As chair of the Floral Exhibits Department 17, I want to urge everyone to consider entering the fair. Department 17 added two new sections last year Fairy Gardens and Terrariums. These were very popular entries.

Right now is the proper time to plan for growing your floral and vegetable entries. At the Fair, you receive ribbons and even prize money for your winning entries of specimen cut flowers, potted plants and floral arrangements as well as home grown vegetables, baked goods, canned fruits, jellies and jams, needlework, clothing, quilts, crafts and photography. Many departments even have separate youth and adult divisions.

In planning ahead for growing Department 17 horticulture and floral entries, keep in mind there are special entry requirements for potted plants, cut branches, specimen cut flowers, and floral arrangements. Potted plants, for example, must be exhibited in containers, not exceeding 10 inches in diameter, in which the exhibitor has grown them for at least three months. In the specimen cut flower classes, exhibitors must grow all of their own entries. Refer to the Premium Book for specific details on entering each class as requirements vary by floral species.

Uniformity of height, color and size are important when entering flowers. A zinnia entry, for example, should be six flowers of the same height, size and color. Plant enough flowers of the same color and species so that you have plenty to choose from. Flowers should be gathered in the morning or in the evening, not during the heat of the day. Pick several of each planned entry so the best can be selected upon arrival at the Fair. Remove any leaves which would be under water when displayed; however, some leaves must remain above the water line for judging. Specimens having no leaves lose judging points.

Those entering artistic floral arrangements should be aware that each of these classes has specific size and type of flower requirements. Purchased flowers may be used only in the floral arrangement classes. Complete information about these and all other department entries can be found in the Premium Book available in paper form at the Adams County Extension Office, local fruit stands and markets, the Adams County Public Library, other public places, and online at the website SouthMountainFair.com. Entry registration is July 31 and August 1.

The 94th South Mountain Fair also features 4-H exhibits and 4-H and FFA judging and livestock sales. Other featured events at the Fair include a Horse Pulling contest, a parade of Antique Farm Equipment, Draft Horse pulling, and Fireworks. Exact times for all events are in the Premium Book and the online web site SouthMountainFair.com.

Plan now to enter the Fair. In addition, be sure to attend to see all of the exhibits and experience the fun of the 94th South Mountain Fair.

Read other articles by Connie Holland