LAMPASAS — Filling the air with fresh flavors and original ideas, the Lampasas County Fair begins Wednesday. Open to anyone interested in friendly competition, the county fair allows participants a chance to show off the fruits of their labor and earn some well-deserved bragging rights.

According to veteran participant Lou Bradley, the competition spans not only one’s circle of friends, but family members as well.

“Last year, my brother and my niece entered in the photography division with their picture of a stupid squirrel. They captured a picture of a squirrel holding a plum bigger than his own head — I think that won second or third place,” Bradley said. “This year, I encouraged my niece, who lives in Austin, to participate. I sent her one of the fair catalogs because she likes to cook, and I told her we’ll just compete against each other.”

Bradley said the heat and insects have taken a toll on this year’s crops. She said the majority of her past entries were homegrown vegetables, but the influx of grasshoppers this year is making crops dwindle.

Karen DeZarn with the AgriLife Extension Service of Lampasas County said the fair is held in conjunction with the Lampasas Spring Ho Festival.

“We’ve tried to expand our hours to accommodate more entries and those who want to view the entries. In years past, we were not open on Saturday, but we’ve added Saturdays the last two years,” DeZarn said.

DeZarn outlined fair divisions that include: photography, art, jewelry, baked goods, canned goods, holiday items, clothing, crafts/textiles and horticulture. Exhibitors are classified in one of the following categories: juniors (ages 7 to 12); intermediate (ages 13 to 18); and adults (ages 19 and older). Ribbons, plaques and certificates are awarded in each category with the winners announced Thursday afternoon after the judging.

Grand champion and reserve champion will be announced for each division and will be awarded rosette ribbons (as supply lasts), if deemed worthy by the judges. Only blue-ribbon winners will be considered for grand champion, reserve champion and best of show awards.

The fair, sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, is held with no entry fees and the competition is open to everyone.

“The county fair is something everybody can get involved in and appreciate the artistry that’s involved with making something of your own,” DeZarn said. “We’re hoping to see participants grow in all the divisions, and we’d like to add more youth divisions in the future and incorporate 4-H a little more in our county fair.”

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