9 Strange State And County Fair Competitions

9 Weird State and County Fair Competitions

1. The Giant Cabbage Weigh Off ( Alaska State Fair )

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In 2016, farmer Steve Hubacek's cabbage took first place at the Alaska State Fair's Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off, weighing in at 83.4 pounds. Last year, the cabbages submitted for the event had a combined total weight of 765 pounds! In 2009, a cabbage at the Alaska State Fair broke the world record for heaviest cabbage, according to the Guinness World Record website. Palmer resident Scott Robb's cabbage weighed in at 138.25 pounds. Who will take the prize this year?


2. Unusual Vegetable Competition (Rice County Fair, Minnesota)

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Odd shaped vegetables are officially a social media "thing," but they've been popular at state and county fairs for decades. Faribault, Minnesota's Rice County Fair's open class unusual vegetable competition provides the opportunity for people to find a home for their oddly shaped, or extra large, produce.


3. Make way for the Pet Rock Olympics

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Question: How many times in past years have you cursed yourself for forgetting to take part in the Colorado State Fair’s Pet Rock Olympics? Don’t let it happen again! Pre-registration is now open for this year’s competition, which will award winners with a total of nearly $250 in cash prizes — plus ribbons! — to winners in the “Best Dressed” and “Farthest Distance Roller” categories.

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4. Funnel cakes & fireworks: What to do at the Johnson County Fair

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Can you smell the funnel cakes? Hear the screams of people enjoying carnival rides? Well, you probably cannot yet, but the Johnson County Fair is bringing all that and a whole lot more to the Iowa City area starting Monday. The annual festival brings just about everything you could want in a Midwestern festival to town: rides, carnival food, concerts, fireworks, baking competitions and a bunch of livestock competitions for the large crowd of farmers and rural life lovers we have in the area.


5. Banana Derby (Georgia State Fair)

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One of the most popular events at the 170-year-old Georgia State Fair (and at additional fairs around the U.S.) is the Banana Derby—a race in which costumed capuchin monkeys compete against each other riding dogs.



6. Alpaca wins 4-H Lama Costume Contest, though it’s not a llama

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This 4-H contest has become a staple of the Minnesota State Fair and draws a standing room only crowd every year. Animals are judged on their costume, originality, and poise, among other qualities befitting a llama in disguise. Last year's winner was an alpaca named Max—watch him strut his stuff below.


7. The Fiercely Precise World of Competitive Table-Setting

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BONNIE OVERMAN WAS MAKING THE rounds at the L.A. County Fair with a friend in 1996—they would have passed by all the usual crafty offerings like piquant jars of preserved foods and kaleidoscopic quilts—when they stumbled across something extraordinary: A cluster of tables, perfectly set and outrageously, decorated. Think Baroque clusters of figurines, imposing assemblages of fake flowers and vegetation, candelabras and hand-lettered menus.

No one was destined to sit at these tables; the people who had created them were all entrants in the annual tablescaping competition, a county fair tradition to which participants devote months of planning, countless hours of crafting, money, sweat and tears, all in the hopes of claiming Best in Show for the most creative, impeccably set table.


8. Best Grocery Bagger Competition (Iowa State Fair)

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The Iowa Grocery Industry Association is gearing up for August 2017's 30th Annual Iowa Best Bagger Contest to determine who will be named the state's best grocery bagger. Baggers will be judged for individual style and speed, as well as proper bag-building technique and maintaining an even distribution of weight between bags. Each contestant will bag identical grocery orders consisting of 30 to 38 commonly purchased items. Participants will be using all reusable bags. The four baggers who score the most points in the preliminary heats will then compete against each other in a final championship round to earn cash prizes. Who knew groceries could be so competitive?


9. Women's Rubber Chicken Throwing Contest (Iowa State Fair)

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One of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines is THE state fair to attend. It attracts over a million people a year and is frequently ranked one of the top events in America. Much of the fair is the same as it's been since the late 1800s to preserve its classic feel. One of the fair's oddest, yet most popular competitions, is the women's rubber chicken throwing contest, which sounds pretty much like what it is—who can throw the rubber fowl the farthest? Better than using live chickens, I suppose.


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