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Deadline nears for Mountain fair contest signups

FLETCHER — Aspiring chefs hoping to earn a blue ribbon in one of the cooking contests at the 2013 N.C. Mountain State Fair must submit applications by Aug. 2.

This year's cooking contests will look a little different than past years. This is the first time the fair has not had a national sponsor for one of its cooking contests. Instead, fair organizers have partnered with 10 state commodity associations to bring more attention to locally grown products. Contestants will have the chance to compete in cooking contests using North Carolina strawberries, fish, beef, pork, eggs, pecans, blueberries, dairy, apples and sweet potatoes.
"The bottom line is that we're an agricultural fair," said Fair Manager Matt Buchanan. "I can't think of a better way to promote North Carolina agriculture than to incorporate it into every aspect of the Mountain Fair, including the cooking contests."
From cooking contests to livestock shows, there are hundreds of opportunities for people to showcase their talents at the fair. In addition to blue ribbons and bragging rights, participants also can earn premiums. This year's contests offer $240,000 in prize money.
Competitions are open for youth and adults, but are limited to North Carolina residents. The dates when the actual entries must be dropped off vary by category. Following are the deadlines to submit entry registration forms:

  • Aug. 2 — Cooking Competitions (recipes are not due until the day of the contest) and Gospel Singing Contest;
  • Aug. 9 — Llama;
  • Aug. 14 — Livestock and Display Livestock;
  • Aug. 23 — General Exhibits, Flower and Garden, and Clogging Championship;
  • Sept. 10 — Miss N.C. Mountain State Fair Pageant.

The 2013 N.C. Mountain State Fair runs Sept. 6-15 at the WNC Agricultural Center. Tickets are now available at the WNC Farmers Market and WNC Agricultural Center. Tickets also will be available at area Ingles stores starting Aug. 1.

More information, including contest rules and online application forms, are available at www.mountainfair.org.