The Fair is upon us.
Every year since I have lived in Our Little Town we have gone to the Fair. And for much of that time it was simply a fun event that happened in the summer, something we could attend on a day of our choosing. We’d cruise through the animal barns, eat something regrettable but tasty, try to avoid being run over by Willie Nelson’s tour bus, and call it a year.
And then Tabitha and Lauren joined 4H.
The Fair is now the focal point of the year’s events and, if Lauren is to be believed, the best part of the year up to and including Christmas. Gone are the days when the Fair actually began on the day it opened to the general public – those rubes. Now the Fair happens all year long at a low-key level, and ramps up to a blur of activity a good week in advance when the judging starts.
We’re in that week now.
On Thursday, Lauren and I went over to the Fairgrounds for Photography judging. This year Lauren moved up a class (the perils of getting older) and none of the projects she chose had face-to-face judging.
I like face-to-face judging, despite the waiting around that it inevitably entails, because 1) you can explain what you were doing to the judge, which matters when you are supposed to have photos of specific things but you decided to get a bit artsy with those things and the judge may not be able to tell that the photos are indeed of those things, and 2) you can get some feedback on how to do things better, which helps for the next year.
Also, the alternative to face-to-face judging is Danish judging, and frankly the Danes are just elitists about their judging. They have quotas – you can only give out so many blue ribbons no matter how excellent the entries are, so if you have something that’s wonderful but the blues have already been allocated then down you go. Maybe it’s the Viking thing. Who knows.
Lauren had two entries this year for Photography, which is down somewhat from previous years. She’s been more into her animals this year and Photography kind of got short-shrifted, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m glad she’s still doing it, though.
Her first entry came in the “Four Color Photos: One Each of Landscape, Person, Building, and Animal” category. And these were her photos:
The person is a friend of Lauren’s. The two of them spent a happy
afternoon out at the poultry barn taking more photos than you’d think
possible. But that’s the joy of digital photography – you can do that,
and it’s fun when you do.
The animal is her turkey, Popeye. Popeye has a rather malformed head and her other eye always looks like she’s squinting at you, but she’s the bravest of the turkeys and oddly enough often the leader – you don’t see that in hens very much.
The landscape is from the Grand Canyon, which is its usual spectacular self. Lauren liked the tree in the corner, as it gave the whole thing more depth.
The building is from Silver Reef, Utah – the old ghost town that we went to earlier this summer. This is the one that Lauren wanted to explain to the judges – yes, indeed, that is a building. We’re not sure if they got that or not.
Her other project was “Three Black and White Flash Photos,” which were these:
The first and third are her same friend. The middle one is a bit more artsy. Lauren liked how the cage and water bottle were in focus but Maybelline was blurred in the background. That would have been another good thing to explain in person, perhaps.
The judges awarded a red ribbon to the color photos and a white to the black and whites, which wasn’t bad. We’ll see how it goes next year.
Friday was Tabitha’s first shot at judging, this time in Visual Arts. She did a stuffed fish, which for a while she called a goldfish but which turned out more like an orange grouper and which we now refer to simply as “Stackars,” because of the expression on its face and its general attitude toward the world. Stackars is Swedish for “poor, sad thing,” and if you’ve ever read the Pettson & Findus series of children’s books you’d know that. And if you haven’t, well, you should go do that now! They’re wonderful.
Stackars is actually quite a work of engineering, with armature wires keeping his fins in shape and stuffing in all the right places. He's an original design, too.
This is Stackars.
I missed the judging because there were simply too many things going on at once and Kim ended up being the one to go with Tabitha, but Tabitha reported a Top Blue for Stackars.
And more judging yet to come!