Various Minnesota State Fair food and craft contests among hundreds of competitors are a highlight for many fairgoers and a tradition for some Savage residents.
Savage resident John Perhay has been submitting his breads to the fair’s Creative Arts contest for roughly 30 years.
This year, he submitted white, wheat and a couple of seeded, harvest breads, took home a first place prize and won the sweepstakes for all yeast breads.
Bakers looking to have their baked goods considered for a ribbon have an approximately three-hour window to deliver their submissions on the Saturday before the fair starts, Perhay said. The bread’s color, uniformity and taste are a few items on the judging checklist.
The baking contest also includes cakes, cookies and pies. Other creative arts food contests cover canned and preserved foods, such as jams and pickles.
The craft contests in the creative arts building bring in works of knitting, metal and woodwork, dolls and clothing.
Contest results are released online in the morning on the first day of the fair, but Savage resident Stephanie Thesing said she always waits to learn the results in-person.
Thesing cross-stitches and crochets and has submitted her bee-themed creations to the Agriculture and Horticulture building’s bee and honey exhibit craft contest for around 25 years. This year, she took home a fourth-place ribbon for her crocheted pillow.
“We always make a beeline to get to that building,” she said. “It’s just really cool to see myself displayed in the first place, but it is kind of cool to see a ribbon on it as well.”
She also picked up some new yarn at the merchandise mart and grandstand to get an early start on next year’s contest.
Local baker Amy Clarke said she's getting an early start on next year's contest after taking home a third-place ribbon for her angel food cake this year.
"I bought a new angel food cake pan, and we’ll see if I break the third place," she said.
Her other entries included chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, gingersnaps, scones and an apple pie.
Clarke was involved with 4-H activities throughout her childhood, and she's previously exhibited baked goods at smaller fairs but only began submitting entries to the state fair last year.
"I hope it'll be a tradition," she said.
Local resident Todd Bowman's homemade wines have also collected ribbons at the state fair in recent years.
He and a couple friends began making wine in his friend's basement in Bloomington and decided to give the state fair's amateur wine contest a try a few years ago.
To date, they've collected three ribbons including one first place. This year, their submissions didn't make the final cut, but they plan to be back next year.