Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to get into the Utah State Fair for free

We went to the Utah State Fair a total of three different times this year and guess what? We didn't see a single sheep, goat, or cow!

Not a single one. Bummer, I know.

What were they doing if not looking at livestock, you may be asking.

Well, I'll tell you--we decided to enter some of the food cook-offs.

Did you know that you get a free entry pass when you enter one of those bake-offs or cook-offs? You do!  It's a fun way to get into the fair for free!  Make a note!

Our first outing to the fair was to enter Lee's whole wheat bread to the Fleischman's Yeast Bake for the Cure Baking Contest.

The Bake for the Cure ribbons

Here's Lee's entry.  I say, this is some good lookin' bread.

Look at that bread!

Lee was up against a lot of people--about 26 other entries.  We started getting an inkling that maybe we weren't as competitive as some of these other home cooks.  We saw fancy rolls and things shaped like a breast cancer awareness ribbon. A woman had even dyed her bread pink!

Unfortunately, Lee didn't win--we were disappointed, but maybe expected it a little after we saw how intense some of these people were. We did get to try some of the other breads and that was yummy!

We had a nice tasting of different rolls and bread

Our next visit was for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship the following week. Lee entered in his rocky-road themed, homemade marshmallow candies. He called them "The Rocky Road of Life Marshmallows: When the road gets rocky, eat chocolate".

Rocky Road of Life Marshmallows--so good!

Oh man, I wish you could try these marshmallows!  These were the BEST marshmallows Lee has ever made--ever--and he's made a lot of marshmallows. They were so soft and with the perfect coating of Ghirardelli dark chocolate--ah! Delish!

We actually knew one of the judges--she works for the USU Extension Programs and was asked to judge the contest after one of her cooking demonstrations.   Lee was trying really hard not to tell her which was his entry--it was pretty funny to see him sneaking around and dodging her while he set up so he didn't bias her judging.

Our friend being interviewed while trying Lee's marshmallows

Anyway, I took a look around at all the entries--all 29 entries!  Holy cow!  Who knew these contests would be so popular!  Once again, there seemed to be very fancy schmancy recipes with crazy decorations--it was impressive and we were getting worried that once again, Lee's entry wasn't fancy schmancy enough.

Lee looks worried

Once again, Lee didn't win--double bummer!  Once again, we concluded that maybe next time we enter, we need to ramp up the decadence, the decorations, the opulence...the MSG? Heck, something more! We were both feeling a little out of our league again; the marshmallows were a nice consolation prize though!

I was really getting worried since I was entering my Lemon Basil Layered Cake into the King Arthur Great Cake Contest the following night--my cake would either be too "out there" or not moist enough or someone else would bring a cake with fireworks coming out of it.

My unadorned Lemon Basil Cake

I finally gave up and made the cake, then we headed to the fair.

Because we were running late to the contest AND there was bad traffic, Lee dropped me off and I got there with only 5 minutes to spare and no fancy decorations like we planned--they were in the car with Lee. All I had was a cake on a cake stand.

Lee taking care of the Lemon Basil Cake

I was the last entry.  They put me right next to someone who made lemon curd cupcakes. And it looked like 2 entries down from me, someone had made the exact same cake I made--it was yellowish with green flecks. All in all, it looked like there were 5 other lemon-like entries of 14 total. Fancy, fancy entries. Great--we might as well go home!

Because we didn't have much luck before, we just hung out in the back next to the quilts and canned veggies and really didn't pay too much attention to what was going on.

But then I heard the announcer say my name and the name of my recipe for 2nd place!


2nd place!  Sa-weet!

Me, posing with my cake

My weird little cake won something!   That was exciting and rather unexpected!  I won $100.00 gift card to King Arthur Flour, a really big apron, and a red ribbon!

So next year enter your prize-winning recipe!  You may or may not win, but you'll get into the fair for free!


  1. That is totally awesome! I might actually do that

  2. @Emma
    Emma, you should totally enter something! You would do well!

  3. I never thought of entering as an adult! I thought you could only enter as a kid (like I did when I was in 4H).


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