As the longest running county fair in the state, Boulder County’s has seen a thing or two. Horse races, gold and silver from local mines, gambling and pumpkin pie dominated the early fairs; today it boasts tractor pulls, demolition derbies, jousting by the Knights of Valor and goat yoga.
This year marks the 150th year for the Boulder County Fair. The early fairs were held on the original fairgrounds located between 28th and 30th streets in Boulder in the inaugural year of 1869. It moved to Longmont 30 years later, in 1899, after years of lobbying from the upstart neighboring town.
Before the Colorado territories became a state, the fair was established to show off agriculture and opportunities in the new west. Displays of items from farming, home goods, minerals, Colorado-manufactured products and crops were on display for four days, from Oct. 12 through 15.
They had a flower and vegetable display too, something that gets gardeners excited for the fair. With the abundance of rainfall we’ve been having, vegetable gardens should be looking blue-ribbon worthy at this of the season, so let your competitive side out and enter a few in a green thumb homage to 150 years of the fair.
Is your favorite flower blue ribbon material or is your tomato the top of the crop? Take home the bragging rights for their sesquicentennial. Held at the fairgrounds in Longmont, this friendly contest brings neighbors and friends together for days of garden and farm goodies, plus the delicious items made from them.
If these are your gardening style, check out the Vegetables, Herb, Fruit, Baskets and Flowers show and stay to watch the judging on Saturday, Aug. 3. The judge will explain what they’re looking for, giving hints on growing and showing vegetables.
Entering your beauty into the fair is an easy process, but you don’t have much time: all entries need to be registered online by July 22 at bouldercountyfair.org. Exhibitors need to know how many items they’ll be entering and fill out a general class entry for each item saying what kind of crop it is.
The total number of entries you’re bringing is the important thing; if you register a pumpkin but end up bringing a perfect zucchini, don’t worry – they can change the entry tag for you. They can’t add-on items you didn’t register, though, so enter more than enough to cover your crops.
Interested exhibitors can download the premium book at bouldercountyfair.org/p/exhibitors/open-creative-living. Click on the Crops, Garden, Flowers link and you’ll find the rules and guidelines for entering. Then stroll the garden to see which vegetables or flowers are doing well. Check the fair premium book rules for entry requirements because you may need to have more than one example per entry.
By Carol A. O’Meara. Carol is an Extension Agent – Horticulture Entomology at Colorado State University Extension Boulder County. For more information contact CSU Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Box B, Longmont, 303.678.6377, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ext.colostate.edu/boulder.