A good place for gardeners to show off their green thumbs is the flower and vegetable show at the Lexington Lions Club Bluegrass Fair.
No matter what you grow, there’s probably a category for it at the fair, with 137 categories including fruits, vegetables, herbs, roses, perennials, annuals, container-grown flowering plants and floral arrangements.
The competition is open to amateur gardeners in Fayette and surrounding counties.
If you have never taken things to the fair, be aware that entry rules, available in an 11-page handbook, aren’t complicated, but they are specific in what the judges are looking for, just as when you exhibit at the Kentucky State Fair.
“You must follow the guidelines,” said Debbie Johnson, co-chairwoman of the show.
If the entry rule calls for five bell peppers on a plate, it means five, not four or six. When it says one zinnia stem per vase, resist the temptation to include two. Deviate, and the entry will be disqualified.
The reason is to make it seem more like a traditional fair, like it used to be, and not just a carnival.
Nick Carter, agriculture and natural resource agent for the Fayette County Cooperative Extension Service, on adding the agriculture competition to the Fair.
The Fayette County Master Gardener Association and the Lexington Council Garden Clubs sponsor the vegetable and flower show. The organizations are making a push to increase the number of horticulture exhibitors from the 58 who participated last year.
New this year is a coloring contest for children ages 10 and older. The page to color, and the rules handbook, can be found at Bgflowershow.com. Copies also are available at the Fayette County Cooperative Extension Office on Red Mile Road. The website also has three videos with tips on how to prepare cut flowers, exhibit vegetables and groom container-grown plants for competition.
The flower and vegetable show was added seven years ago.
“The reason is to make it seem more like a traditional fair, like it used to be, and not just a carnival,” said Nick Carter, agriculture and natural resource agent for the Fayette County Cooperative Extension Service, and coordinator for the agricultural portion of the fair.
Several years ago, the fair built a permanent, air-conditioned building for the flower and vegetable show, the quilt exhibit and the youth livestock competition.
“The goal was to get agriculture back in the fair and make people aware of the place agriculture has in the state’s economy,” he said.
This year’s livestock lineup includes a beef cattle show, plus sheep, goat, swine, poultry and rabbit shows. On July 23, there will be an “equine extravaganza” featuring many breeds of horses, Carter said.
“People can get close to the horses, pet them,” he said. “And there will be a presentation about different breeds and the equine industry in Kentucky and, especially, Lexington.” competition
Beverly Fortune: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
Lexington Lions Club Bluegrass Fair
When: July 14-24
Where: Masterson Station Park, 3051 Leestown Road
Tickets: $6 admission; rides and other attractions are extra
Flower and vegetable show
Entries accepted: 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. July 16
Judging: 1 p.m. July 16
Show: 3 p.m.-10 p.m. July 16 and 17
Pick up: 9 a.m.-11 a.m. July 18.