Bringing National Recipe Contests To Grassroots America...
The American Fair
- American state and county fairs can credit Elkanah Watson, a wealthy New England farmer and businessman, for their start. Watson showcased his sheep under the great Elm tree in the public square in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1807. To attract attention, he clanged an old ship's bell with a piece of iron. Watson owned woolen mills and wanted to encourage the local farmers to raise Merino sheep because the wool was of superior quality.
- By the late 1800's most of the country's largest fairs' were in full swing: from the New York State Fair in Syracuse to the San Diego County Fair in California (Del Mar), and from state fairs of Minnesota to Texas.
- Since then, Americans have attended state and county fairs to see the latest technologies, the best livestock, the biggest pumpkins, the blue ribbon breads, cakes, pies, cookies and more...plus the most thrilling entertainment. Equal in attraction is the enticing "fair-way" foods, such as present day corn dogs, elephant ears and cheese curds!
- A longtime champion of touting the newest, the biggest and the best, fairs continue to inspire Americans to discover the diversity and history of their heritage. From horticulture to arts and crafts to livestock exhibits, the talents of the area's most gifted are featured at the fair. Some of the oldest and most creative competitions are the “Best Recipe” contests.
- The tradition of recipe contests is almost as old as the fairs themselves. The contests originally showcased the best of locally-grown food as well as the best local recipes. Almost two centuries later, delicious and interesting creations are entered by both first-time entrants and longtime winners.
- In recent years, sponsorship of recipe contests by national food companies has become popular at fairs across America. The companies award generous prizes for original recipes featuring their products.
- We organized our first special cake competition in the 1980's, backed by a flour company. By 1990, it was our niche and our passion.
- Recipe contests used to be considered a women's competition. In 1903 one writer called the contests “monuments to housewifery.” Now the contests have grown to include everyone, inspiring generations of families to enjoy competing in this age old American tradition.