State Fair

State Fair
State Fair Ribbons

Monday, August 29, 2011

State Fair Ribbon Winner's Pictures

I just couldn't help myself so I went back to the Minnesota State fair today in order to take pictures of the winners in the baking categories I entered. I wanted to see what blue ribbon winners (or even fifth-place winners) looked like.   Were they perfectly round, perfectly square, tall, short, fat, skinny, big, little, etc.  This first picture is the chocolate brownies with frosting, nuts and or chips category.  A funny thing happened to my brownies. You will see my lonely brownie with a capital M on it. All other ribbon winners had three of their brownies displayed.  Last Friday when I went to take pictures of my fourth place winner there were three brownies lined up behind my pink ribbon that didn't belong to me.  Since mine were decorated, it was easy to tell.  I was disappointed. I thought maybe I didn't really win the ribbon and someone else's brownies did, but they gave me credit. After checking with the state fair competition office they confirmed my brownies really won.  I told them only one of my brownies was being displayed in the area where the non-winners went. Apparently the other three were thrown out. So that is the story of how I ended up with one lonely brownie to represent me!
Lonely pink ribbon winner :(

Plain brownies-I took no ribbons.

Ghirardelli competition-I entered, but no ribbon.
This fantastic-looking dessert came with four champagne glasses filled with an orange sauce to go over the slices the judges tasted. I saw this dessert sitting on the entry table when I was standing in line to enter my brownie tart. I knew right then that everyone's chances were slim!  I was hoping it would taste terrible (it is a competition you know!)
What more can I say?

I won fourth place for strawberry bread-it looks so tiny and alone!  I forgot to take a picture of the first and second place winner.  I think maybe I need a larger pan?
So tiny
Banana bread...ribbons still elude me.
No ribbons for me
Bars with fruit, nuts, or chips.  I entered apricot almond shortbread bars. I didn't win any ribbons.  I thought these would be my sleeper-it turns out they must've been sleeping when the ribbons were handed out!   (Sleeper: : someone or something unpromising or unnoticed that suddenly attains prominence or value)
No ribbon for me
And last but not least, chocolate chip cookies. The winners looked good, but not that good!   I suppose those people didn't change their recipe at the last minute and then bake the cookies too long.
I am craving one of these now

I was going to enter cookies into the ethnic category, but I ran out of energy.
I took a picture of the winners anyways just in case next year I want to enter.


  1. That image of your strawberry bread and your "so tiny" comment is really making me smile :).
    But if Lord of the Rings (recently re-watched in one sitting) has taught me anything it's that small things can have a very big impact :).
    I'm looking forward to seeing (and trying) that recipe. As for the size, the most difficult part will likely be figuring out the new bake time once you double the recipe and up the pan size to 9x5. And congrats again on the ribbons :)!

  2. I have the recipe on an old tiny recipe card that came from an EX family member!
    I found the basic recipe here-it is the first recipe listed:
    I have modified it a bit to up the strawberry flavor...can't give away my secrets just yet!

  3. Interesting photos of the winners. Thanks. I'm not a big state fair fan, :-) (blasphemy, I know). I wouldn't have gotten to see this if you hadn't posted it. I made strawberry bread years ago. I'll have to look up the recipe. As I recall it was very sweet and tasty, and actually made me think more of cake than bread.

  4. @Gloria -- I understand perfectly... my banana bread is a closely guarded secret too, almost like the Colonel's spices :)

  5. Your baked goodies look great. Only one of my 4th place winning brownie made it onto your picture :o)
    I'm glad you had to chance to see your ribbon winning brownie displayed (I can't believe they already threw out the other bars - at least there was one left). I'll be going to the fair this weekend and taking lots of pictures, as always.
    At the risk of sounding like a sore loser, did you take a close look at the Blue Ribbon winning Choc Chip Cookie (the third one, way in the back), reflected in the mirror? It has a huge crater in it!! :o)

  6. Hanaa, thanks! My brownie looks lonely
    :( About the winning CCC, it DOES have a giant crater!!! Totally underdone I'll bet! Good eye! (Maybe they know the judge???) ;)
    I do see I only "shot" one of yours! I must have stood too close on that shot.
    I know you'll get some good pics! Can't wait to see them!

  7. Gloria, you have inspired me. My husband and I went to our county fair last night and viewed the baked goods, the gardener's displays, and the preserved goods. We live in California's Central Valley. My husband's family has a century-old tradition of picking up first and second place ribbons so I confess that I am feeling rather intimidated. ;) Congratulations on your ribbons, Gloria! Your entries look delightful!

  8. Thank you Anonymous! The first year I entered I won nothing, but I did receive a scorecard on a few things which helped me improve for the next year. Half the fun for me is experimenting and sharing with my family and friends. I am the first in my family and extended family to enter anything so I don't have the pressure you might have!

  9. Hi Gloria –

    Strange story about the brownies…

    This weekend I received my scorecards from the MN State Fair and there was a pink ribbon inside; much to my surprise. The pink ribbon was for the brownies I entered in Class 6 / Lot 1061 – Chocolate Brownies with nuts and/or frosting.

    After reading your blog story seems there’s some sort of mix up. Either I received your ribbon or the published winners sheet was incorrect. Makes me wonder if the brownies you saw that Friday were mine.

    Did you receive your score card yet? Was the ribbon included? The ribbon I have does have my name hand written on the back and the scorecard and entry tag both have a “4” written on them. What a strange mix up either way.

  10. How did you find me? I'm glad you did! I received the $2 check for 4th place today!!! on 8/26/11 I called the state fair because they posted my name as the winner, but your brownies were up there when I went to take a pic. They confirmed I was the winner over the phone after looking up their paperwork (who really knows though?) so the woman I spoke to found one of my brownies in the "losers" :) case and put it in the winners case. If you got the ribbon, then you probably were the winner..but if I won nothing, why would they have my name at all and why did I receive the check? A couple of years ago I won 3rd place for them so getting a ribbon was not surprising to me...Oh well...You have the ribbon and I have the picture of my brownie with it and the jaw dropping $2...They told me mixups happen..

  11. I have read your blog for a little while now. I came across it by a google search for things like "Minnesota State Fair Baking." Always fun and inspiring to see what others are baking.

    When I received the ribbon and scorecard in the mail, I remembered reading your story about the brownies. So I thought I would contact you via your blog.

    Mix ups do happen... makes for a good story!

  12. I sent a detailed email to the competition office earlier today. I hope they get back to me. If your brownies really won, you should get the credit online and the $2! I can let you know what I hear on this post, or you can email me...

  13. Annette, see below: Dear Gloria,

    On the judges sheets it says that you have a total of 90 points and that Annette received more than 90 points putting her in 4th place. The clerk who was marking the sheets circled 4th place by your name, which is right below Annette's, instead of marking it by Annette's name. Linda and all the other staff members were looking at the placings and not the points, which is why there was so much confusion.
    Annette will be getting credit on the website for having 4th place since she is the correct winner for the brownies .
    You may keep the check since it was our mistake for not catching that. I will also be putting in the mail a 4th place ribbon for you.
    I am sorry for all of the confusion!!!


    ~Competition Staff
    Minnesota State Fair

  14. OK, so nevermind on my question in the last blog about where you live. People in MN must take the state fair competitions very seriously! That is so cool. And they have such pretty displays for the winners! And go to 5th place! We only go to 3rd.

  15. Thanks for looking into the issue. I had contacted the competition office as well, around the same time you did, and received a similar response. It's only my second year entering any baked items and it's my first ribbon from the Minnesota State Fair!

    Thanks again. Looking forward to next year.

  16. Congratulations Annette! I remember how exited I was when I received my first ribbon-I didn't win anything the first year or the 2nd year. As far as the mix-up this year, I guess the judges and staff are only human and they make mistakes...

  17. When you enter but don't win do they let you know what score you had?

  18. Anonymous, if you in the top 25, they fill out a scorecard and send it to you.