The Chelan County Fair was a rousing success the weekend after Labor Day. WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan and Douglas Counties were there to welcome visitors to the Boswell Building, where flowers, fruits and vegetables were displayed. A team of judges spent Thursday morning awarding ribbons and rosettes to exhibits in every category.
Exhibitors brought nearly 300 cut flowers and flower arrangements, showing everything from dinner plate-sized dahlias and deep blue, anise-scented sage to a remarkable all-green floral arrangement that included crabgrass and buttonweed. Best of Show rosettes for youth exhibitors (16 years or younger) went to Kairi Fox of Cashmere for her multi-colored dahlia and to 9-year-old Lilly Gosvener of Manson for her floral arrangement on a handmade birdhouse.
Among adult exhibitors, a rosette for Best of Show in flowers was awarded to Alina Gerard of Cashmere for her Teddy Bear sunflower, an unusual variety with minimal pollen production. Best of Show in floral arrangements went to Lois Munro of Monitor for her potted arrangement of succulents.
Some unusual vegetables were on display, including okra grown by Jan Clark of Wenatchee and pink celery grown by Mary Morse of Leavenworth. Teresa Gray of Cashmere brought her Jarrahdale squash, a large, round pumpkin shape with deep ribs and blue-gray skin. Max Hart of Cashmere brought his 200-pound pumpkin, which was a big attraction for young fair visitors. Four-year-old Minna Harper entered a plate of gourds along with a story, saying “I stole the seeds out of my mom’s drawer and planted them behind the chicken coop.” Among vegetables, Best of Show was awarded to Bonnie Orr of East Wenatchee for her round Hungarian pimento peppers. Best of Show for the largest vegetable went to Paul DeKorte of East Wenatchee for his green onions.
In home fruits, Andrew Murdoch of Cashmere brought a plate of sloe (Prunus spinosa). Also called blackthorn, the berry-like fruit tastes like plum but is much more tart. It is used to flavor gin and can also be used to make jam. Figs grown in East Wenatchee were entered by Bonnie Orr, and hops grown in Cashmere were entered by Matt Cooper. Randy Parks of East Wenatchee entered an apple variety he developed at his home, called “honeylight.” Best of Show for home fruit was awarded to Andrew Murdoch for his Concord grapes.
On Friday, Master Gardeners offered tips on making creative garden stakes, growing and maintaining a clover lawn, and putting your garden to bed. Professional florist Sherri Kill gave a demonstration on making floral arrangements. Master Gardener diagnosis specialists were available Friday and Saturday to answer questions about plant pests and diseases. On Saturday, Master Gardener coordinator Jenn Cawdery talked about how to become a Master Gardener, and on Sunday pumpkin grower Monte Pringle gave tips on how to grow a giant pumpkin.
The Boswell Building was honored to receive the Washington State Fair Commission’s Black and White Award for 2021, given to the building that best meets the mission of Washington’s agricultural fairs. To everyone who visited and everyone who exhibited, we hope you will come again next year!
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in The Wenatchee World. Connie Mehmel is one of four columnists featured. To learn more, visit wwrld.us/cdmg or call (509) 667-6540.