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Southeast Alaska State Fair showcases talents of all varieties
Published: 08/01/2013 11:00:00
The Southeast Alaska State Fair was this past weekend in Haines. An annual event that has been evolving for 45 years, the fair has grown to encompass a wide variety of attractions, there's a little something for everyone. To learn more, we spoke with Jessica Edwards, the Executive Director of the Fair.

"The Fair is a very eclectic four days of events, entertainment and contests, it's neat because it's got a music festival aspect but it's also got the traditional elements of a Fair which would be contests like logging shows. We have an antique Carousel and an antique Ferris Wheel, so besides the fact that we have great headlining entertainment, you know big acts from Canada and the lower 48 states, we've got this great place where you can wander around and just get lost in all of the stuff to see and do."

One of the things that most people don't see though is the behind the scenes judging of all of the entered exhibits, where people compete for blue ribbons and bragging rights. Ms. Edwards told us of the expertise and stringent standards employed in the judging.

"The week before the fair, folks will come and we solicit judge's who have expertise in that area, whether it be baked goods, a Home-Ec Teacher, a Cooperative Extension Agent or successful Artist for the fine art department, we really try to pick people who are very expert in their field. And then we go through, we have a series of standards that are set by the 4H, the nationwide group, and we try to follow those standards as best as we can and also encourage people."

One of the main exhibit categories is preserved foods, and also one of the most important to judge correctly, for obvious reasons. Sarah Lewis, A cooperative extension agent and the judge of the preserved foods category, explains.

"The most important thing that we judge on is food safety, so we need to look at whether it was preserved correctly based on what food it is and what types of methods are needed to safely preserve that food so it's shelf stable. Flavor, how it looks, texture, you can sort of tell how it was cooked and how it was processed and whether that was done correctly or better or worse based on tasting and looking at it."

When the judging is all said and done, the winners take home a ribbon and bragging rights that can last until the next Southeast Alaska State Fair.


http://www.seakfair.org/

By: Rik Pruett - rik@kath.tv