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Is there a blue ribbon in your future?

Competing at the Bureau County Fair is fun for the whole family. When you win your first ribbon at the fair, it makes it a fun experiment to try to win more ribbons the following year. You can even challenge your friends and relatives to see who can win the most ribbons with their fair entries.

This year’s Bureau County Fair runs Aug. 21-25. Entries are due on Aug. 9. There are many areas where members of the whole family can compete. Almost everyone collects something. We have 92 different classes in the Hobbies and Collections Department. You can enter your collection of souvenirs from your family vacation or even your old Depression glass items. There are also classes for hand crafted items like ceramics, garden decorations, wood working and holiday crafts. There are separate collection and handicraft classes for kids ages 12 and under and also for teens age 13-16, so they don’t have to compete against the adults.

The Baking Department is always popular with everyone. There is even a separate men’s division for those guys who like to make cakes, pies, breads and cookies. Have you been told you make the best cookies or pie in the family? Now is your chance to see how they rate with the other bakers in the county. On Wednesday through Saturday night, you can win the prize-winning baked goods during the nightly cake walk in front of the Secretary’s Office.

The Photography Department has been growing every year with more than 800 entries last year. There are 52 classes for amateur photographers and 36 for advanced photographers. Topics for photographs include subjects like babies, historical Illinois, sunsets, water scenes and more. Classes are offered for children and teens too.

The art categories include painting, drawing, watercolors, sculpture, and even finger painting for the little kids. Whether you dabble in art or are an accomplished artist, there are classes for you to enter. The kids’ art projects from school can even be entered. There has been a new class added this year for special needs exhibitors. There is a scrapbooking category for completed scrapbooks and individual decorated pages.

The rain has helped the flower and vegetable gardens stay lush this year. There are many classes for flowers, which can be shown as individual blossoms and in arrangements. The flowers are split into two shows, one on Wednesday and another on Friday, so there are fresh flowers at the fair all week. There are 77 vegetable department classes from beans to decorated vegetables. You can also show vegetable displays, oddly shaped veggies, honey, hay, sunflowers, and even the tallest stalk of corn. Classes for kids are also offered in these departments.

If you canned your bumper crop of veggies, bring your canned goods to the Canned Fruits, Meats and Vegetables Department during the fair. They even have classes for homemade wine and beer.

The Textiles Department has had their entries displayed in the Bureau County Fair Historical Museum for the past few years. Quilting, sewing, knitting and crocheting and heritage needlework are just a few of the categories that people may enter.

The fair is looking for exhibits to put in the Historical Museum during the fair. Items relating to life in Bureau County, the fair or just interesting displays will all be welcomed. Call Nancy Roach at 815-915-7548 if you have items you would like to display.

The annual Bureau County Fair is also the place for livestock and horse exhibits. Please note the Speed Show has been moved to Saturday in the McCutchan Arena. The Draft Horse Show has been moved to Sunday at 10 a.m. with classes alternating with the Open Horse Show. The Lil’ Wranglers Rodeo has also been moved to Sunday. Sign your kids up today to participate in the mutton bustin’, chicken chasing and greased pig contests. Entry forms are on our website. Also note the Demolition Derby has a new earlier start time of 3 p.m. on Sunday of the fair.

The new fair schedules have been printed, and the fairbooks should be available at the fair office and online in a few days. Stop out at the fair office on Tuesday or Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and pick some up.

While you are at the fairgrounds, be sure to pick up your tickets for the Justin Moore concert on Aug. 23. There are a few Gold Circle seats left which are the closest seats to the stage. There are still seats on the track and in the grandstand available. Moore’s “Point at You” is No. 18 on the country airplay chart this week, up from No. 21, so be prepared to see an amazing show.

If you can’t get to the fairgrounds, you can order tickets online for the show 24 hours a day for the first time this year. You can find information about ordering tickets and the 158th annual Bureau County Fair on our website at or on our Facebook page. Call the fair office at 815-875-2905 for more information. We hope to see you at the exciting Bureau County Fair this summer!

Kathy Costerisan is a representative for the Bureau County Fair.

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