On the Art of Judging at County Fairs

Here in Colorado, it is the middle of the County Fair season.  The Larimer, Denver, and Elbert County Fairs, and probably some others are this weekend.  As part of the Colorado Quilting Council Competition Committee, I am scribing for the judges of two county fairs.  This week was Elbert County with Garfield County next week.   DH and I are using this as an opportunity to visit parts of Colorado we have not yet seen.  I am using the experience to learn more about quilts and quilt judging.

Elbert County Fair
Elbert County Fair

I missed the 4-H kids and their alpacas while I was working on the quilt competition.  DH watched and said it was cute to see the kids handling (or attempting to handle) the alpacas.

Meanwhile, Judge Pamela Walsh and I looked at 20 submitted quilts.  Overall, they were high quality work.  We had submissions from excellent, experienced quilters, to beautifully executed commercial patterns, to first quilts by kids and adults.  It was wonderful to see the range of creativity and inspiration.

Judges comments at this level  reinforce the quilter’s current skills and give gentle suggestions on how to improve.  What I thought was an overabundance of classes really distribute the quilts widely, allowing the awards to be spread over a large number of quilts.  This is another way of encouraging quilters to continue and improve.

Being at the Elbert County Fair also took me back to my days in 4-H in Adams County, PA, participating with other kids in horse shows and loving every ribbon I won.

A county fair is a wonderful way to touch the rural roots of this country.  They recognize the home-made things of everyday life in this time of pre-prepared and throw-away.  They teach kids how to care about the quality of what they do and how to prepare for competition.  The results can surprise, disappoint, or reinforce just like many things in life.

I thank CQC for giving me this opportunity to see another part of our culture I don’t see too often, being a city/suburb dweller as I am now.   Also, I am looking forward to the Garfield fair and returning to Elbert County next year.

 

Thanks for your comments