Fair-Inspired Bucket List

by Fiorella Calderoni

1. Win a prize for growing the largest tomato

Did you know Ventura County Fair runs entire competitions for the best tomatoes? Not just the overall best, but the best of 11 varieties including yellow, orange, heirloom, and cherry. Southern California is blessed with perfect tomato-growing weather! If you have tomato plants in your backyard, make sure to keep an eye out for big ones that just might be winners for largest tomato.

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2. Enter a cowboy poem competition

You don’t need to be a cowboy to let the authenticity of Western life – ranching, animals, unspoiled land – inspire you. Write a poem, whether serious, inspirational, or humorous, of up to 36 lines and submit it for Ventura County Fair‘s cowboy poetry competition on August 13, 2016. 

3. Give street chalk art a try

You can do it anytime, anywhere, and be as creative as you choose. Nothing’s permanent so you don’t have to be afraid to make mistakes. Let the little chalk artist child in you re-explore the art of street chalk. Six lucky participants can also enter to take part in Ventura County Fair‘s street chalk art contest on Monday, July 25, 2016. This will be an 8 hour timed event. Creativity encouraged!

4. Get a bee box and gather your own honey

This latest trend is a fun hobby, reaps a tasty treat, and is great for our environment -urban bee keeping! Bee boxes are more and more widely available and gathering your own honey is easier than ever. If it’s already something you’re doing, bring it to Ventura County Fair‘s honey and bee products contests for a chance to win!

5. Make your own avocado ice cream

Homemade ice cream is always fun but with over 11 varieties of avocados featured at the Ventura County Fair, get inspired to make your own avocado ice cream! Hass, Pinkerton, Zutano, Mexican, Fuerte, or Bacon -each kind will bring a slightly different texture and a different degree of sweetness. Try it out and see which one’s your favorite.

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6. Judge a “miscellaneous unusual character” produce competition

Yup, that’s really a thing! Categories include largest sunflower, funny shaped lemon, largest beet, longest ear of corn, largest apple, longest carrot, largest turnip and many more! 

7. Go to Cattlemen’s Day at the fair

This year’s Cattlemen’s Day is August 13, 2016. If cattle isn’t your thing, there’s also Citrus Showcase (August 9), Tomato Spotlight (August 10), Avocado Day (August 11), or Berry Day (August 14).

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8. Win a Best Beer prize for your home brew

The craft beer beer is making has lots of people giving home brewed beer a shot! Amber lagers, English Pale Ales, Porters and Stouts, Wheat and Rye Beer, Mead, Cider, or Perry- whatever your brew, put it up to the test at Ventura County Fair‘s amateur beer contest. The Best Beer prize will be judged by aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, and overall appearance. Bragging rights included!

9. Churn your own butter

Homemade butter alongside homemade bread or dinner rolls, can be the icing on the cake. As early as ninth century BC, a Hindu etiquette manual suggests brides be given milk, honey, and butter on the day of their wedding -treat yourself to fresh, all-natural, homemade butter and see what makes it so special. Once it’s taste, texture, and appearance are prize-worthy, bring it down to Ventura County Fair‘s homemade dairy products competition!

10. Make your own cheese

This rare skill is easier to learn than you think! Homemade cheese has the best ingredients, makes an inexpensive hobby, and best of all, encourages us to think about food processes while staying in touch with farmers, cows, and the land. A large pot, a basic thermometer, cheesecloth, and a few cheese cultures will get you started on the right path. Soon, you’ll be ready to enter Ventura County Fair‘s homemade cheese competition! 

11. Bake the best dinner roll in the county

Do you have the blue ribbon recipe? Preheat your oven, fire up your competitive spirit, and enter King Arthur Flour’s adult baking contest at Ventura County Fair! This year’s bake-off will feature the most delicious dinner rolls. Bring your fluffiest, buttery-goodness on Thursday, August 4, 2016.

12. Bid on livestock at a silent auction

Each year, the livestock silent auction is one of Ventura County Fair‘s most popular events! Fair-goers are invited to participate in a full day of bidding on some of Southern California’s finest livestock. From cows, pigs, lambs, and goats, to turkeys, rabbits and chickens, these livestock are raised by youth from 4H, Grange and FFA. Each year, the silent auction raises up to $1.6 million to support youth education and careers in agriculture. Add it to your calendar! This year’s auction takes place on Friday, August 12, 2016. 

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