Plan your entry for the fair

An exhibit of canoy onions entered by Gary Walker took Best of Show at last year’s NCW Fair. (Empire Press file photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Do you like to garden? Do you bake? Do you enjoy photography or creating artwork or crafts? Are you a knitter? Are you handy with a sewing machine? Do your kids have some art projects they did this past year? Do they like to build with Legos?

Any of these hobbies and activities could be a source of an item to enter into this year’s NCW Fair, which will be held Aug. 22-25 in Waterville.

It is simple to find something that could be entered in the fair. Bringing that item in Entry Day (from 1 to 8 p.m. Aug. 21) gives a strong sense of participation in the fair. If you will be attending the fair, you can purchase an exhibitor ticket, which is $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. The ticket allows you to attend the fair all four days, so it can increase your enjoyment of the fair quite a bit and save you money over purchasing tickets on multiple days.

If you do not plan to attend the fair, you can fill out a form to exhibit your item or items for free.

Exhibitors can enter as many items as they want in the fair.

When you come for the first time, you will get a special feeling as you check on your entry and see how it was evaluated by the judges. Sometimes you will find a ribbon on your entry, and this is very rewarding. At other times you will see the judges’ feedback that you did a very good job (1st place), or need some improvement (2nd or 3rd place). Either way the judges will usually write a few words on your item’s label to let you know what you have done well and how you can improve next time.

Not only is entering items in the fair good for the fairgoer, it is also beneficial for the fair. The fair itself is evaluated each year by judges from the Washington State Fairs Association. A key aspect that it is judged on is entries, including number of entries, number of youth entries and quality of entries. Participating in the fair by entering your items can help the fair to get the highest rating. It also helps the fair to receive increased funding.

When you are deciding what to enter in the fair, it is recommended to check out the rules for your particular entry type in the fair’s premium book. This is available at by clicking on “admission and general information.”

Volunteers are needed to help on Entry Day and to assist in the various barns throughout the fair. If you can help, contact the fair office at 745-8480.

If we trace the history of the NCW Fair back to its earliest ancestor — The Douglas County Industrial Exposition of 1889 — then the fair is 130 years old this year. We can say “Happy Birthday!” by entering our items and making a new annual tradition of it.