Deadlines approaching for NC State Fair competitions

2019 LEGO Competition

Did you spend you time at home in 2020 learning a new hobby or teaching your kids cooking or gardening skills? Now is the time to show off your handiwork at the 2021 N.C. State Fair.

The competition listings include canned goods, dried jerky, baked items, quilting, needlepoint, art, 4-H entries, scrap booking, wood working, horticulture, flowers and much more. If you have a skill, there’s probably a corresponding State Fair competition to enter. Many categories offer competitions for first-time entries.

All competitions are listed online at

Entry deadlines are Sept. 15, however, items in many competitions are not due to the fairgrounds until the weekend before the fair starts. Which means you can enter now and then put the finishing touches put on your project before you need to drop it off. Since the fair in 2020, projects completed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for entry.

“While many of our competitions showcase projects like quilts or needlepoint that might take an entire year to finish the project, the fair also has competitions that might just take a weekend to complete,” said John Buettner, competitive exhibits director for the N.C. State Fair.

2019 Quilt Competition

“We call these gateway competitions and they include new categories like decorated footwear or painted rocks. These are projects that a family or youth group might could complete over the weekend and then enter into the fair. These types of competitions show fairgoers that entering your item to be judged is easy and hopefully they might encourage more participation in our competitions.”

In 2019, the fair had more than 28,000 competitive entries. Based on long lines to see the entries, some of the most popular competitions are the decorated cakes and quilts. The giant pumpkins on display in the Expo Building are also popular, hosting one of the most popular photo spots at the fairgrounds. Blue ribbons certainly draw attention throughout the fairgrounds.

“The registration process is online, free for most categories and takes about five minutes,” Buettner said. “To enter, find the competition category you want to enter and then the class and lot number for that competition.”

For example, to enter the painted rocks competition, you should look in the Decorative Painting category. The four classes of painted rocks are listed as class 121 through class 124 and include mandala design, message design, single color design and plants and animals.

Entry registration is now open, with the deadline for entry registration coming up Sept. 15. Fill out your entry forms by Sept. 15, get your entries ready and who knows, you could be a blue-ribbon winner this fall.

About Funhouse

On the blog I go by Fun House (AKA Heather Overton). At the Fair you'll find me checking out the blue ribbon winners or hanging out in Heritage Circle. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite part of the Fair, but I can tell you one thing I hate - leaving it on the last day. I can't wait for opening day!

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