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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Liebel-Berg

Project 3 - Five Minnesota County Fairs

It is time for me to get competition ready. If you ever participated in county fair, you know what that means, project time! I grew up eagerly waiting for the County Fair. Being in the 4-H program was a chance for me to shine, to create, to complete my projects. My categories were sewing, quilting, baking, ceramics, needlepoint. I loved all of it, and it gave my anxiety-ridden teenage years meaning. Additionally, the annual county fair was a time for community and to admire the hard work of others. When at the fair, everyone brings their very best.

In 2019 I dusted off my 4-H skills and entered my photography into the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. I knew nothing about the caliber, I simply knew that something was calling me to get back into the county fair competition circuit.

On opening night I left my husband to watch the kids because I couldn't wait to find out how I had done. The anticipation of walking in the building and the results of the judicator was as fun as I had remembered it. I had done well. After, my husband suggested that I enter all of the county fairs and until that point I had assumed that you could only the county fair dictated on where you resided. I was wrong about that. Turns out that in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, you are eligible to enter in any adjacent county.

A whole world opened up to me. I was going to print my work, have it exhibited and run the circuit. Then, COVID hit and the cancellations piled up.

Well, saddle up because for this year I will be exhibiting in five county fairs and applying for the Grand-daddy of them all, the Fine Art Building at the State Fair.

Hennepin County Fair

June 16 - 20, 2021 | Hamel, MN

The Minnesota State Fair Fine Art Jury

July 19, 2021 | St. Paul, MN

Anoka County Fair

July 20 - 25, 2021 | Anoka, MN

Chisago County Fair

July 22 - 25, 2021 | Rush City, MN

Washington County Fair

August 4 - 8, 2021 | Lake Elmo, MN

Dakota County Fair

August 9 - 15, 2021 | Farmington, MN

Now that I have a road-map, the real work begins. I need to select 100 images from the past two years to ultimately narrow it down to 39 that will be placed into the circuit that will circulate from one Open Class Exhibition to the next. Which combines into Project 4. The best of my photography, represented by 39 images.

Stay tuned for next week when I work on narrowing around 500 images, down to 100.

Final Note: If you are at all a crafty person or someone who is awesome at baking or gardening. Look up your county fair and register to exhibit in the Open Class. Get some recognition for your hard work. Fair organizers would be thrilled to have you. Participation is not what it used to be and fairs are more fun when there are more exhibits. Who knows, maybe you'll fall in love and catch the County Fair bug yourself!

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