Creativity and competition go hand in hand at the Merced County Spring Fair.
This year, visitors to the fair will see a very new set of talent in several new arts and crafts divisions, cooking contests and even beer brewing.
Exhibits coordinator Eileen Vaughn said the new amateur home brew beer contest sponsored by Dust Bowl Brewery of Turlock is sure to bring in the local beer-brewing talent. Any Merced County resident is eligible for the walk-in contest on Sunday.
“I think it will be very popular. We’ve never done this before,” said Vaughn.
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Judges will be provided by Dust Bowl Brewery. Entrants need to bring two 10- to 13-ounce sealed bottles for competition. Prize money will be paid to the top three entries in each class.
There will also be a beer label contest with classes for hand-drawn and computer-generated labels.
Special cooking contests are featured each day of the fair with three offered on Sunday. Experts in sausage making, pasta sauce, salsa and cheesecakes are encouraged to come to the fair and compete for prize money and bragging rights. There is also a Kid’s Best Ever Baking Contest.
Adding to the “country fair” flavor, the fair offers a special barn quilt contest. A barn quilt is a piece of plywood painted with a colorful block pattern. There are small and large barn quilt divisions with the fair providing the wood. The barn quilts will become the property of the fair to be used as artwork.
Other new divisions include a “Christmas in May” contest with the fair supplying 4-to-6-foot artificial trees to be decorated with homemade or purchased ornaments. Altered art is a division for those who see art in unusual objects and recycle them in creative ways. There is also a division for artistic creations using burlap.
The quilt division has added two new classes – one for Americana quilts and one for beaded or embellished quilts.
A new division in the garden department invites entries gleaned from the popular Internet craft site Pinterest.
Potential exhibitors and competitors should check the MCSF premium book, available online, for entry deadlines, delivery times and contest rules.