County Fair entry ideas

10 Things You Should Enter Into The Fair Right Now

These are nearly guaranteed to win.

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For the past decade, my family has entered the Deerfield Fair, in practically every category available. Canned Goods, Sewing, Arts, Needlecraft, etc. The month of September became the month of 'Hurry up and finish your crafts so we can submit everything we signed up for'. We would always sign up for more than our gracious (and very very patient) mom had time to help us with, but it was always a fun time. Each category got multiple blue ribbons, first place wasn't just set aside for 'best in show'. While it was always heartbreaking for my six-year-old self to get an 'honorable mention' or a third-place ribbon, there were plenty of areas that almost always got first prize. The list is broken down into the two best sections, arts, and baking. Here are the top ten that will get you closer to the Blue Ribbon!

Section 1: Arts & Crafts

Arts

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This category pretty much encompasses all art. Photography, paintings, sketches, drawings, clay moldings, whittling, stenciled works, and wood painting/cloth painting. There are probably some others as well, but these are the main few. I've found that judges pretty much look for basic design principles and elements that make the art look clean and organized. If you submit art that follows basic principles of design, you're almost guaranteed one of the blue ribbons. This is especially true for photos and drawn art. If you're not exactly sure what principles of design are necessary, here's an article.

Finally, you'll want to make sure that your visual art isn't just empty art. A lot of the time, photographs are taken just for photographs. There are some instances where art is simply a really good image, like a landscape or family portraits. Remember that a lot of people will see these so that you can make your mark. Try to get across a theme. What do you have to say? Your art could be a societal critique (photographs conveying themes of greed, poverty, or other issues in today's world), or it could be an image showing the good (themes of kindness, love, gentleness, etc.). The most important things to remember are that this is your art, not someone else's, and to have fun! Make it yours and unique.

1. Photography

Photography

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This one's super easy. All you have to do is get up and snap a shot, right? Well, if you want to compete yes. If you want to win, then you'll need to give a little more than that. You'll want to make sure that everything's even, and the horizon's not tilted! If you want to make a really good image, use some of these photography elements!

 2. Paintings

Paintings

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If you have a good steady hand and know the way to make a pretty painting (I honestly can't, but if you can!), or painting that makes a statement, judges aren't typically harsh. They're mostly looking for clear themes and messages or talent. Choose wisely.

3. Stencils

Stencils

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The judges often aren't real harsh here, as long as you follow design elements and principles. This section is also easy to get first in if you have a good eye. Don't be basic, be extra. Do the opposite of what they expect. Use the stencils to create a layered effect. Use stencils with paint, crayons, things that they haven't seen before. Remember stenciling can be done on paper, clothing articles, objects like the above teapot, even wood!

4. Pottery

Pottery

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Pottery is a section that typically doesn't have a whole lot of entries. This is one reason it's easier to win. Again, clean objects and unique designs are what the judges are looking for.

5. Macramé

Macrame

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Remember those third grade friendship bracelets you used to make? That's macramé. Create one with a clean, unique design and color pattern, and submit it!

Section 2: Baking

Time to cooken with der swedish cheffen!!

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Even if you're not a 'master' in the kitchen, the baking category has some great and easy sections. Between basic chocolate chip cookies and simple quick-breads, the baking category is almost a no-fail section. Judges for this category just look for a good (or great) cookie. If you've got ANY experience in baking, just try. Even if you fail, you have the leftover cookies and cakes to cry on.

1. Quick bread

Bread

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There are some pretty unique flavors for the quick bread section. This is a great opportunity to try something new. Bread is pretty easy to create, but you'll want to test the recipe a few times to make sure it tastes as good as it looks (and vice versa…) As far as I can see, you don't need to come up with your own recipe. However, if your fair requires it, just learn the basics of bread making, try a few recipes, then create one with your own combination of flavors. Who knows, you may even find your new favorite recipe through this!

2. Cakes

Cake

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From Chocolate to Zucchini there are many cake categories to choose from, plus an additional 'other' section. Judges are looking for bold flavors and a light texture.

3. Pie

Pie

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Again, bold flavors, and the correct texture. If your crust is soggy and gross, the judges won't score it as high. If it tastes bitter, or distracts from the flavor inside the pie, again, you'll be scored lower. You also want to have a killer filling recipe. If you categorize a pie as 'blueberry', you have to make sure that's the main flavor, and the spices/supplemental flavors aren't overpowering.

4. Muffin

Muffin

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Muffins are really easy to make. They're right up there next to cookies in terms of difficulty. Basically, you just want to follow the other tips. Make sure that your flavors aren't battling each other for stardom, and that the textures are right. Finally, you want to make sure that it looks appetizing and perfectly round/proportional.

5. Cookies

Cookies

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I believe that the 'cookies' section has the most options flavor-wise. My fair has eleven, most of which I've never tried before. However, I don't believe I've ever had a year where my chocolate chip cookies got second. This is with a BASIC recipe I got off of the back of a bag of chocolate chips. I'm serious about how easy this is!

While I cannot guarantee that you're going to get the first prize every time, these tips and categories are the easiest for my region. I do hope that they help you because it's an awesome feeling getting blue ribbons!! Also, there are a ton of other categories that you can enter that are fun to create and enter in. They're not as easy, but they're definitely more rewarding when you win. Now go, enter your fair!!

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18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.
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Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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Junior Year Was A Learning Experience About Who I Am In Order To Be The Best Version Of Myself

This year was a changing experience.

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I walked inside with a sure enthusiasm that this year would be better than last. I told myself that I wasn't gonna man the same mistakes and fall into the same traps that can left my grades in the dust for so many years. I said that this was the first year I was going to be stress free and without any problems. I also said this would be the year I would get in shape and stop eating cookies but the day that I'm writing it is national chocolate chip cookie day and I'm enjoying a nice and warm one.

This year is puts so much stress on friendships and the way that people interact with one another. Everyone is so on edge due to a lack of sleep and understanding that we all can tend to lash out at each other even though we wouldn't if we weren't in that state of consistent tiredness and sadness. Running on 4-5 hours of sleep really makes it difficult to understand any conflict that may occur. For example, on the day of the hardest Chemistry test of the year, I saw two of my friends lash out at each other in a moment of pure emotion. But almost as fast as the argument began, it was over and they had overcome the conflict between them. It really is a testament to your connection with the other person if you can make it through the whole year without running into any problems. In terms of personal experiences, each day was a challenge due to the little brain function I had, but I managed to not give into my issues. I was able to work around them and keep myself going.

Junior year was an experience that I'm going to keep with me forever because of the good and the bad. First off, I would like to thank my parents for never giving me that resolved look of contempt or happiness. This only motivated me or to work harder and I would like to say that I think I made you guys proud with how hard I worked this year. The next people I would like to thank are my friends, you guys are the actual goats. I know that many of you guys don't know how much I appreciate you and I would like to say that I really take it to heart when you guys help me with a certain problem, whether its academic, social, or none of the above.

As for the plot that most people were waiting now, the grades of the haunted Junior Year. I consider myself to be a very average student and I thought that my grades were going to be once again average by junior year standards. I though that they were going to fall so low that I would not be asian failing anymore. Surprisingly, this was the first year out of all my years in high school that my hard work paid off with consistent grades. That does not mean good but that does not mean bad. As a junior at Northview, I was amongst the 200 that took 4 AP classes and etc etc. Grades do not have to define you and getting a single bad grade will not kill you is the lesson I learned this year. That was the single most important idea that I could have taken from this year because it gave me a new perspective on my education. It was time I lived a little.

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