The day’s almost over and I’m just getting to this post now…
Have been thinking about a proper way to acknowledge this SPECIAL anniversary for a couple of months. Wanted to do a week of posts ~ certainly have enough interesting foods to write about and lots of photos ~ but not enough time to match my enthusiasm! Do you struggle with that, too?
Fireworks are much better than ‘birthday candles’ don’t you think?!!! Fourth of July at the 2010 Marin County Fair gave us a reason to celebrate early. As you may know, I decided to enter two handcrafted jams….technically a ‘preserve’ and a ‘conserve’….and they BOTH won first place blue ribbons in their classes! WOW!
It’s been decades since I’ve entered any items in a county fair. The last time was in the early ’80s…the Nevada County Fair held in Grass Valley, California, a Sierra foothills small town. (BTW, 2010 Nevada County Fair starts next week. Check out the link if you’re within driving distance for some foothills country fun.)
Learned all about the differences between jellies, jams, preserves, and conserves as I prepared for this year’s fair competition. If you’re curious and not sure about those distinctions, read more in our Strawberry-Orange-Ginger Conserve post.
And if you have ANY inclination to try your hand at homemade jams and county fair competition, read Shae’s wonderful article on her blue ribbon winning jams and jam-making passion with great fair competition tips. Shae jotted me a note on FWB last month and we’re going to get together one of these weekends soon to share our jams and exchange ideas. My first jammer buddy, YAY!
Bill and I took off a bit early on Friday (July 2nd) to check out the Fair. Arrived around 6pm and headed for the demonstration kitchen where all the food entries were on display. I hadn’t been there before, so was glancing over the shelves of displays, curious to see what we would find, watching a chef set up for her demo, and noticing others coming to look at the entries, too. Reading the signs announcing the award winners, all of a sudden, realized that was MY name I was reading on the Best-of-Show Preserves notice!
And I wasn’t the only surprised winner that afternoon. Standing right in front of us were two VERY excited ladies, Catherine Hughes and her cousin, Ellin Purdom, who were thrilled to find blue ribbons on Catherine’s amazing handmade confections: ‘Toffee Talk’ and ‘Crumble Mumble, Little Pieces of Conversation.’ Check out the link if you love “to die for” toffee-chocolaty-nutty goodness. (You can find them on Facebook, too.)
I don’t have the whole story of what prompted Catherine to wander around the corner to the aisle end display, but there she discovered her toffee had won Best-of-Show Confectionery, starring as one of the feature items in the charmingly creative display. She and Ellin were all smiles!
Though surprised, Catherine had come prepared….with samples to share. She generously gave us two bags of Toffee Talk and a jar of Crumble Mumble and I took photos for her to post on Toffee Talk’s Facebook page.
I, of course, wasn’t thinking marketing or of gathering up goodies and didn’t even have a purse or pocket to put stuff in. So, when Bill and I went to buy Greek Veggie Wraps for dinner, I begged a plastic bag from the vendor in exchange for one of Catherine’s toffee gifts. What a deal….for the vendor! Bill and I hadn’t tasted the toffee, yet, and had no idea how incredible it was. To appreciate my rave review, you need to understand I’m not a candy eater…and can pass most candies by, no problem.
Had a sweet chat with the food vendor about roses & my winning preserves. He didn’t know roses were edible or much about roses at all. Turns out he had just planted his first rose as a memorial for his dog who died recently. I mentioned I, too, had planted a beautiful dark rose a few years ago as a memorial for our beloved black cat ‘Mufassa’ who died in 2006.
Bill and I went to see the fabulous art show, which unfortunately doesn’t permit photographs, so I can’t share the top notch quality of the work, and then caught the last half of the thought-provoking film festival. By then it was dark and almost time for the nightly fireworks display.
Took time to try a few hand-held night shots of the festive caravanserai atmosphere with shoppers faces splashed with light and vendors engaged in sales. Used Bill’s shoulder as a steadying prop since, traveling light, I hadn’t brought a tripod along.
Fireworks at the Marin County Fair are always a treat. The fair’s well funded (explosive displays for those shows cost a pretty penny) and dramatic fireworks released over the lake a few yards from the watching crowds are not to be missed, if you’re anywhere in the vicinity. I was quite pleased with the impromptu shots I got, not the usual fireworks fare. Hope you enjoy them too.
Tah, dah!!! Looking forward to seeing what this next year brings. And am already cooking up batches of unusual jams and such for next year’s fair….