Saturday, October 16, 2010

Canning Her Way Into Fair Record Books

Michele with most of her entries.
Some who read this may have already heard or read about some of this post on my Facebook Status a few weeks back, but this post also includes additional details of the process and updates since that status post. 

Six weeks ago the local County Fair was held. My 17 year old daughter, Michele, decided last December that she wanted to enter in all 109 entries within the Jr. Division Food Preservation (canning) and Food Dehydration Categories. I am so glad she is a goal setter. As I know that this characteristic will help her in the future. But I also knew that this would be a great challenge to complete within the eight months that we had until the Fair.

Michele reviewing the Fair Book guidelines.
So, in January we began strategizing how we could accomplish all this. Making a list of what foods items were cheaper in what months. Buying food items when in season, so it wouldn't cost as much to complete this goal. (Note: because she was entered in the Jr. Division parents got to help/assist the child since they were dealing with hot liquids, hot foods and pressure canners.)

If you know anything about canning, you know that it is really hard to just can one or two jars of anything. Most items she/we canned 10 to 20 jars or more of. Especially, if the items were things that our family would consume i.e. salsa, fruits, veggies, soups, etc. Then with those "rare or unliked" items we really tried to only can around 5 jars. Just enough to have a good one with one backup. That means if the average was 10 jars for each entry, we did over 900 jars. The dehydrated items all had to be jarred as well, after they were dehydrated.You should see my pantry. We will eat well this winter without have to get out into the bad weather to go to store. Maybe I should get her to do this every year? 

Local Fair Ribbons
It was a lot of work, but she did it. She entered into all 109 categories. She was the first person in the Jr. Division to ever do this within the Food Preservation & Dehydrating Division since entries had been recorded within the Washington County Fair. The person who held the previous record was a young man who entered 70+ jars in the 1970's. She broke that record by entering in every available category within that food division.  
What an accomplishment! 

During the course of Fair Week, the local newspaper contacted her/us, a reporter met with her/us, a photographer got some pictures of her, and she was featured on the front page of the Saturday newspaper. She won 56 First Place Ribbons, 43 Second Place Ribbons and 10 Third Place Ribbons. There were 3 jar entries that won a Ball or Kerr Awards. Each getting an additional Ribbon and extra money. 
Out of all the First place entries, 20 of them were sent on to the District Fair.Just a few days ago we got those jars back and she had won 14 First Place Ribbons and 6 Second Place Ribbons. We also found out that at the Local Fair she had received the most judges points overall and would be getting a $50 Savings Bond from the County Homemakers Extension Club. Plus, she had also gotten over $300 in prize money for the ribbons. 

She also entered in all 18 categories of the Photography Division. She is a budding photographer taking all the school pictures of events, rallies, candid photos, etc. for her High School. She wants to one day own her own photography studio. 

As if I wasn't already an extremely proud Mother for what she has accomplished with this thus far, she comes to me the other day and says, "Mom, I want to take a percentage of my winnings and also try to raise funds or donations to purchase items (blankets, toys, or books) for the Children's Hospital in memory of a Hannah." A little girl she used to babysit for that died last year after a battle with Leukemia. 
Okay so now, I am a really really PROUD MOMMA!!!!

You can make a donation to help Michele supply blankets, toys and books in memory of Hannah.

Michele's Proud Mother,


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