Just around the corner, the award winning Lee Regional Fair, which runs September 11 – 16, promises to be a fun event to visit and even more fun to participate in! Bright lights! Midway rides. Great food. Entertainment! Livestock shows. Rabbits and tractors and bears, oh my! Battle of the Bands! Eye-catching exhibits. A county fair is many things to many people, but to everyone it means fun!
Again this year the Sanford Lions Club will offer pre-sale ride tickets that can save families big bucks. The advance ride tickets are $16 each — a savings of $4. Advance ride tickets may be purchased at the following locations: Sanford Chamber of Commerce, Piggly Wiggly, La Cumplidora, United Way of Lee County, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Lee County Center and Lee County Schools.
Competitions include 5 beauty pageants, tractor and truck driving, livestock, poultry and broiler contests, cookie, cake bake-offs, and chili cook-off, rabbit show, battle of the bands, and back from last year, “Let’s Chat” highlighting many topics including beekeeping.
Central to any agricultural county fair is the exhibition and judging of the best agricultural products and livestock. At the Lee Regional Fair, the Educational Exhibit Hall is a very important building. Not only is this building filled with great booths from 4-H and various community groups, but it also highlights a variety of exhibits, everything from artwork and pottery to tobacco and herbs.
Agriculture is still a way of life in Lee County, although many people no longer have connections to a farm. The Lee Regional Fair provides an ideal place for agricultural exhibits – exposing thousands of people who stroll through the Exhibit Hall to the products of bountiful fields and gardens in the county.
At the fair, examine a cotton boll up close and see where the clothes you are wearing come from. Take in the smell of cured tobacco. For many native to the county, the smell of a hand of tobacco brings back memories of working long hours in the fields priming tobacco. There are many now that are not familiar with tobacco, but may have seen farmers in the field harvesting tobacco. Now they can see what comes out of the curing barns. For farmers, entering their crops is a way to promote agriculture in Lee County and increase awareness of the importance of this industry. The 2012 Lee Regional Fair Catalog will provide youth and adults with all the details of how each crop can be exhibited.
But you don’t have to own a farm to participate in the fair. If your backyard garden is overflowing with peppers, squash, or okra consider exhibiting the fruits of your labor at the fair as well! There are categories for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs all detailed in the 2012 Lee Regional Fair Catalog. Exhibiting your best-looking tomatoes will give you a sense of pride, as well as possibly motivate fair-goers to grow their own fruits and vegetables!
Maybe your kids grew a really weird looking gourd – encourage them to enter it in the fair! There are categories for everyone!
If your green thumb leans toward flowers and potted plants there is even a place for you at the fair. Flower and plant entries should be grown by the exhibitor during the past year and be true to the plant species. The Lee Regional Fair is looking for a variety of plants and flowers for display. You could enter a dried flower arrangement, fresh cut flowers, dish gardens, potted houseplants or a hanging basket.
If you decide to exhibit an agricultural product remember that the exhibitor must have grown the entry during the time between the 2012 fair and last year’s fair. Try to enter produce that is representative of the plant (not too big, not too small) – judges will be looking for uniformity, trueness to type, and an overall attractive appearance.
To find out more details about how to enter your field crop, plant or produce into the Lee Regional Fair, check online at http://www.sanfordlionsclub.
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Brenda Larson is the Horticulture Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County