2015-07-22 / Gardening Tips / Columns

Gardening Tips: July 22, 2015

Come to the Fair!
by Bob Beyfuss

The 2015 Greene County Youth Fair will be held Thursday July 23 through Sunday July 26 at Angelo Canna Town Park in Cairo. The fair goes on rain or shine but events such as the horse show are at risk of being cancelled if it rains too much on Saturday. In the past 30 years that I have announced the show, I can only recall that happening once or twice.

The Youth Fair is unique in that it highlights the achievements and efforts of our local youth. I think it is the only officially sanctioned Youth Fair in New York State. Another nice feature is that admission and parking are free! When was the last time a big event such as this could be enjoyed at no charge at all!

Open to All Greene County


There is a common misunderstanding that the Greene County Youth Fair is only for kids who belong to 4H or some other agriculture organization. Any youth between the ages of five and 21 who either resides in Greene County or attends school in Greene County is eligible to exhibit at the Youth Fair. It is not necessary to be a member of 4H nor does the young person have to belong to a 4H club or any other youth organization such as FFA or Scouts. The main requirement for exhibition is that the exhibit be primarily the effort of the child. Although most county fairs focus primarily on agriculture there is much, much more to enjoy at the Youth Fair with lots of family activities. The full schedule of activities can be found at this website: www.the greenecountyyouthfair.com. There will be master gardeners on hand at several times during the fair if you have any questions about your lawn or gardens.

Judging at the Fair for 38 Years

I have had the pleasure of judging vegetables, horticulture, natural resources and entomology for the past 38 years at the Youth Fair. Visitors are often confused about the judging procedure at this fair. Most of the exhibit judging at the Youth Fair is based upon the “Danish” system. This means that we do not select a first, second, and third place winner while dismissing all the other entries. If an exhibit satisfactorily meets all the criteria it receives a blue ribbon even if there are two dozen other blue ribbon winners in that category. The exhibit is being judged against a standard of excellence, not against the next-door neighbor’s exhibit. The other factor that is used as part of the judging criteria is the age and experience of the child who is exhibiting. I am often inclined to present a blue ribbon to a first time entry for a young child even if the exhibit is not quite perfect. For kids who have exhibited in the same class for many years I tend to be a bit pickier.

Winning Builds Confidence

Last year there were very few vegetable exhibits entered and I was a bit disappointed. Any kid who is interested in gardening at any level can surely come up with an entry is one of the many classes that are offered. There are classes for horticulture as well as vegetables. Winning a ribbon is a wonderful, confidence building experience that your kids may remember for the rest of their lives. Go online, download the Youth Fair book, read the instructions on how to enter and see if there are any categories that your child can enter.

I will be judging vegetable exhibits on Tuesday afternoon July 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. This judging takes place before the fair officially opens on Thursday morning and I will also be announcing the horse show all day on Saturday. Stop by and say hello!

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