Two important dates are coming up if you like a bit of competition and history with your food. Both are related to one of the country’s oldest county fairs: The Long Island Fair, now in its 177th iteration.
The actual fair takes place for two weekends in September: Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22, and Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29 at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. So save those dates and we’ll tell you more going forward.
Today you need to note the deadlines for the heart of the fair: the competitive exhibits, where thousands of Long Islanders of all ages submit their jams, jellies, cookies, cakes and homegrown vegetables, as well as livestock, flowers, crafts, artwork, poetry, and much more in the hopes of winning first prize.
To enter your prized tomatoes or your Grandmother’s pickles for competition, you must submit an entry form ahead of time, as in September 6 by 4:00 p.m. for paper entries (Scarecrow and Advanced categories must be paper) or online by September 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Read more about the Long Island Fair in our archives here.
To do this, you need the Competitive Exhibition Handbook, easily accessed online here. You can also request a hard copy mailed to you by calling the fair office at 516-572-8417. Then you check out the categories, decide what you want to enter and submit the form (the poetry category doesn’t appear in the physical book; look for it online). Pay attention to the parameters; there are different dates to drop off different items (culinary items are due September 19 and 20) and food must be submitted with recipes, for example.
While not everyone who submits will win a blue ribbon (it took me about seven years to get a blue ribbon for my banana bread), everyone who submits does walk away a winner. Each individual who enters an item will get two free tickets to the fair, worth up to $30! Note that it is per exhibitor, not per entry.
Additionally, if you are 14 and up there are fun volunteer opportunities!
For more on the Long Island fair, please visit the fair’s website.