Such a Show-Off
There's nothing like a pat on the back to encourage someone to keep quilting! Consider entering your projects in your local state fair.
The Minnesota State Fair (www.mnstatefair.org) accepts more than 250 quilted items in the Creative Activities quilting competition each August. Quilters enter their best work in hopes of winning one of many fabulous prizes and ribbons, sponsored by quilting suppliers, Minnesota Quilters Inc., local quilt shops, and the Minnesota State Fair. Michelle Fickett, Competition Coordinator for the Minnesota State Fair offers these suggestions. Make sure you check with your own state fair for the exact rules!
Read the Rules: Each competition, even within the same fair, has its own set of rules and regulations. At the Minnesota State Fair, for instance, some categories don’t allow professionally quilted works to be entered, insisting that the entire piece be completed by the same person. You don’t want to be turned away once you’ve reached the head of the entry line just because you didn’t follow the rules! Pay attention to the times for drop-off and pickup as they are often very specific.
Take Advantage of the Web: Many state fairs have all of their registration and entry information online. Some fairs don’t even offer a printed book! Be sure to print off the information you’ll need so you’ll have a reference. Using shopping cart technology, the Minnesota State Fair allows you to register for many different competitions at the same time. If you’re entering quilting, canning, and needlework, you’ll be able to register all of your projects at one time. Preprinted tags will help speed things up when you take your items to the fair. You’ll find lines specifically for online registrants once you get there. Don’t forget to print a copy of your confirmation number and bring it with you when you enter your items. Once the fair has begun, check online to see if you’re a winner!
Study the Book: Make something you enjoy but also try to fit it into categories that offer great prizes. You might as well get all you can out of the experience! Look at the various divisions and then make sure the project you want to enter fits as far as style and size. Many veteran quilters plan their competition projects based on the requirements for the fair.
Follow Labeling Rules: Because the judges are often local professionals, you don’t want to run the risk of them knowing you. Wait until after the fair to sew on your quilt label. If the label is already on the project, tape over it so that the information can’t be read.
Enter County Competitions: The Minnesota State Fair has special categories for those projects that have been selected as the cream of the crop from the local county fair. Those local winners then compete against others in the same category for sweepstakes prizes. See if your fair does the same.
Influence the Fair Committee: If you’d like to see a new category in fair competition, or feel some of the rules are outdated, contact your fair superintendents and let them know what you think!
Visit the Fair: Drag along your quilting buddies, family, and friends to join in the hunt through the displays to see if you’ve won a ribbon! At the Minnesota State Fair, quilted items are displayed over a huge area and are mixed in with all of the other competition items in the Creative Activities Building. You may find your project hung in a display case or draped across a handmade bed. It’s like a massive scavenger hunt that exposes you to all kinds of work from a variety of enthusiastic hobbyists!
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