Show off your fruits, flowers, vegetables at the County Fair

By Kim Cowherd Published:

It’s time for the Franklin County Fair!

The fair will be held at Lakeview Park beginning Monday and continuing through Saturday. The one-price admission after 5 each evening is $10/person, which includes admission to all shows and unlimited rides on the midway.

For those interested in showing vegetables and fruit, flowers and plants, with the hopes of a ribbon and bragging rights, there are two opportunities at the fair for you to show your best horticultural items.

The first is for exhibiting your best fruits and vegetables. Bring them to the Farm Bureau Pavilion TODAY between 3 and 5 p.m. and on Monday, from 8-11 a.m. The Capital Area Extension Master Gardener Association sponsors this fun exhibit.

Check the Fair Catalog for specifics on the fruit and vegetable contest. The Garden and Fruit Division rules begin on page 83. There are categories for adults and for youth. Youth may also choose to enter the 4-H Division as well (information is on page 101 for Horticulture and Plant Science). You still have time to enter!


The second opportunity is for your best flowers, plants, and specimens of shrubs at the Fair Flower Show. This excellent show is planned and sponsored by the Garden Club Council of Frankfort. The theme of this year’s Flower Show is “Election Year - 2012.”

The Flower Show is held in the basement of the Franklin County Extension Office and at the Carter House. All Flower Show entries will be accepted at Extension Office on Friday, July 20, from 8-11. Design entries that are being shown at the Carter House will also be registered at the Extension Office prior to placement.

The public can view these entries on Friday from 4-8:30 p.m. and again on Saturday from 9-11 a.m.

Here are some tips on showing flowers and other horticultural items for the Fair Flower Show.

First and foremost, flowers must be fresh. Select only top quality blooms for your arrangements, whether purchased from a store or grown in your garden. Clean flowers and plants to remove dirt and residues, as well as dead foliage or flowers.

Grooming should not alter the typical features on the plants or flowers. Precondition the cut flowers so the arrangement or specimens will last for several days. Wash the clear vases you’ll need in hot, soapy water, and rinse thoroughly, and then fill with fresh water that is bath temperature (about 100 degrees F).

Add floral preservative to the water. Without the preservative, bacteria will multiply, clogging the stem ends and causing the flowers to wilt. Place the stems in the vases and move to a cool, draft-free area. Leave there until the water cools to room temperature.

The night before or morning of, it’s time to start arranging the flowers. First check the Fair Catalog for the Flower Show Schedule to determine the number of blooms allowed per arrangement and the classes you can enter. If the rules say six to eight blooms per entry, don’t stick in 10 or 12 or your entry may be disqualified.

For themed Design Division categories, be creative. For these classes, the container and idea play into the judges’ decision as much as the quality, choice, and arrangement of the flowers.

For displaying horticultural specimens, such as single cut blooms, cut shrub limbs, or perennial plants, follow the tips for conditioning. Display all specimens in appropriately sized, clear vases, unless potted plants are specified. Be sure they won’t tip over if your exhibit is top heavy.


Label all flower and plant exhibits with the plant name and variety. Correct labeling of exhibits is important because the purpose of flower shows and fairs is education. Flower Show judges may place an exhibit lower if it is not labeled or is labeled incorrectly. There will be Garden Club members on hand to help with this task at the entry tables.

To transport flowers safely to the fair, only fill bottles with minimal water. Bring water with you to top off the vases when you arrive at the fair. Pack arrangements upright in a sturdy cardboard box, using wadded newspaper to keep them separate. Do not let wind from open car windows blow directly on the flowers. Take extra blooms in case stems are broken or crushed during travel.

Look in the catalog beginning on page 90. There you will find the schedule for the Design Classes, the Horticulture Classes and other details regarding the Flower Show. There is also a chance for kids and youth, ages 2 through 18, to enter their flowers too! All ages are invited to exhibit their best flowers, potted plants, and other arboreal specimens at the show!

More information can be found at the Extension Office in the book, Handbook for Flower Shows, by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. Also you can log on to for more detailed tips on how to prepare and display horticultural fair exhibits.


Here are some general tips for entering veggies, fruits, flowers or any items in the Exhibit Hall at the Franklin County Fair. Give yourself plenty of time to get there before the deadline for entering closes. Be sure to fill out each entry card completely.

Do not put the exhibitor’s name on the items where it would be visible to the judges. Do bring plenty of address labels with you for tagging your entries at check-in. Be sure to read the Franklin County Fair Catalog or log on to the Fair website, for specifics about each category.

If you choose your fruits, veggies, flowers and other items carefully and follow the criteria for judging, you could be reading YOUR name in the paper for winning that blue ribbon!

See YOU at the Franklin County Fair!

Contact the Franklin County Extension Office if you have questions, at 695-9035 or email

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