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County Fair Exhibitor Guide and 10-Step Printable Checklist

Are you in need of a county fair exhibitor guide? Don’t even know where to begin?

A county fair exhibitor guide is helpful if you are wanting to exhibit your prize winning tomatoes or fancy dairy goat Frannie at the local fair. Seriously, though, what’s holding you back from exhibiting?

Maybe you don’t know if you even can exhibit in open class. Did you think the county fair was just for the 4-H/FFA youth of your area? Or, maybe you know of someone who wants to exhibit but needs to know where to start. You’ve come to the right place.

Let me be your county fair exhibitor guide. In fact, I’ll give you a printable one-page checklist of everything you need to know HERE.

Don’t delay any further! Because in just a month or two, your local county fair will be in full swing and you will want to be ready.

Before we start: For those of you who do not know what the county fair is, you’re really missing out. The county fair is one of those rural living advantages because there’s so much learning, fun and socializing to be done!

The county fair is a fun, multi-day event where entertainment, competitive events, food, and fellowship come together. There is usually something for everyone and it is a good place to reconnect with friends and family as well as see great exhibits and try new things.

Listen to the podcast episode here:

County Fair Exhibitor Guide

Another cool thing about county fairs is most are all inclusive!

This means that most county fairs also offer open class contests in certain categories that ANYONE (That Includes YOU!) can exhibit and enter open contests.  You must follow the parameters and rules listed in the county fair book. Many fair associations have web sites now where the fair book is listed. You definitely want to read it front to back.

Some categories you might be interested in:

Foods & Canning
Arts & Crafts
Coloring Contests

And so much more. But before you find out exactly what you can do at your local county fair, you’ll need to do some investigative work.

county fair exhibitor guide

Why You Should Exhibit

Because life’s precious lessons start at home. Because it’s nice to showcase and be rewarded for the hard work you do.

Learning by doing is rewarded by priceless knowledge. By exhibiting and competing with the best at the fair in your area, you can become better at your own skill.

So, why limit yourself when you can become better at what you do? Step out of your comfort zone and exhibit your best. There is a class for just about anything, so take the initiative and go for it.

How To Find Out How You Can Participate At The County Fair

Every local county fair schedule is different from the next across the lines. They also are constantly changing through the years. So, you shouldn’t judge one county fair based on how it was ran 20 years ago. It has probably changed.

So, first you’ll need to find out when your favorite events are at your local county fair. The schedule will be posted well in advance or you can google your county fair to find the web site. Here is a good example of a county fair web site.

Find these web sites by simply doing a quick google search. For example…If you live in Paulding County, you could do a google search for the paulding county fair and it would come right up if there is a web site. Same with Pickaway County fair. 

If you live in Ohio and just want to find a fair to attend, simply type in something like: “ohio county fairs schedule” or something like that. 

You will need to locate your County Extension office or Fair Association office for any questions you may have about entering your exhibits or scheduling. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions! That’s how you learn. You can also find the county fair book at these office locations.

Read the County Fair book. Period.

So, right now, you are reading a universal county fair exhibitor guide. But, for your local county fair, you will need the local county fair exhibitor guide in the form of a fair book. And you’ll need to read it front to back.

Now that you know what categories you can enter for competition at the county fair, you are more than encouraged to enter! The fair book is an essential local county fair exhibitor guide.

The county fair book can be found at your local Extension Office or Fair Office or on the county fair web site. Or you could do a google search. For example, if you live in Amador County, just type in: “amador county fair premium book”. This search should help you find what you’re looking for. 

County fair books list the schedule, classes, and superintendents plus how to enter. It is important to read carefully to find out all the rules for entering your item. Here is a great example of a fair book. Notice there is a 4-H link and an open class link, so pay attention to which category you are entering in!

Join the County Fair Social Media Page

Most county Extension offices or Fair Associations have Facebook or Twitter pages now a days and will post or tweet any changes, highlights, results, or postponements. This is important information to note before you head to the fair.

If this interests you, just do a search for your county fair on Facebook or another social media outlet.

county fair exhibitor guide

What to Prepare for the County Fair

So many options. So little time.

What can I make for the county fair? First, get a fair book to see what your county fair offers for classes and to be sure you recognize and understand the rules for the classes.

You will see there are many categories and options for you to explore! From cooking to sewing to photography to animals, there may be something for you. Are you a gardener? Exhibit fresh produce grown by you!

Really, though, the possibilities are endless when it comes to, “What do I make for the County Fair?” Pinterest can be a great inspirational guide. Also, use your hobbies as inspiration for the best. Use what you have and stick with what your county fair offers for classes.

The superintendent is the person that can help you with any questions you may have about your exhibits.

Who is the Superintendent?

He or she is a volunteer who is knowledgeable about the division and classes within that division. His or her name is listed in the fair book.

They are the main people you will check in with when you enter and check out when you pick up your exhibit.

When Do I Bring My Exhibit or Take Them Home?

This check-in and check-out information is found in the County Fair Book in the schedule. Pay close attention to check in time and check out time.

Most exhibits, including livestock, are expected to stay the entire extent of the fair. This is so the community has the time to come in and see all of the great exhibits of their home county.

Why Should I Bother with Exhibits?

Because you can! It’s a good way to become involved in your community and to showcase your unique skills. You will learn a lot. Also, it’s a great way to spend family time preparing exhibits and then going to see them during the fair.

I hope this county fair exhibitor guide and 10-Step check list can help you understand the benefits and ease of exhibiting at your local county fair.

county fair exhibitor guide

Before you arrive at the fair, there are 5 things to keep in mind to prepare for your time there:

1. Budget for food. All of your favorite foods will be available at the concession stands, so enjoy them! I recommend $10 per person per meal for food at the county fair concession stand. Another option is to bring your own food in a cooler already prepared or ready to grill with your own portable grill. Everyone’s budget is different, but you should not let a little thing like money ruin the fun of the fair.

2. Stay healthy. Carry your hand sanitizer to use. There will be friendly animals there to pet, so please pet them! But then, use your hand sanitizer.

3. Budget for entertainment. Every county fair is different so entertainment will vary. Check out carnivals, car races, concerts, etc. I would suggest budgeting around $20 per person to enjoy some of the entertainment at the county fair. Note: Much of the entertainment will be FREE so enjoy that part of it as well!

4. Ask Questions if you have them. That’s how you learn! Fair peeps are friendly and approachable.

5. Have fun and be safe! This should be number one, but I saved the best for last. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your children and loved ones close to you. Making great memories with family and friends is what makes the county fair worth every second. Use the county fair exhibitor guide to keep you on track for a memorable time at the fair.

I know this county fair exhibitor guide will help you to not only exhibit your best in the fair, but to have a great and safe time making wonderful memories. Once again, for the 10-step county fair survival check list, click HERE.

What will you exhibit at the county fair this year? 

~Much Love~


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Denise Schreiber

Friday 1st of July 2016

I have been a 4-H floral judge for the past decade plus assist in judging Adult Fruits, Vegetables and my favorite...Scarecrows. The most important thing when entering the fair is READ THE DIRECTIONS! If it says 5 stems of zinnias, it means just that, not 4, not 6. It is not up to me to pick the best of your entry. Similarly if you bring in a potted plant, I don't want to see diseased, yellowed or dried up leaves. Take them off first. Once they leave your hands there is no turning back. Always read the rules and you will do just fine and maybe take home the big "Best of Show" ribbon!

Mindy Young @ Farm Fit Living

Friday 1st of July 2016

Absolutely! Also, rules and guidelines for exhibiting are different from county to county and state to state. Plus, they are constantly changing. It's always best to read through everything each and every year just to make sure. I love that you're a judge! As a former Extension Agent and wife of an Extension Agent, I know how important it is to find quality judges. Thank you for sharing your expertise with others. :)

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