Ridiculous County Fair Guidelines

Decorating By Muse Updated 25 Aug 2008 , 3:36pm by Muse

Muse Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 7:18pm
post #1 of 11

I was just perusing my local county fair website searching for the rules on the cake competitions. Well, first of all there are technically not any "cake" competitions. There is what is called the Adult Culinary Division. It includes breads, cookies, fudge, etc... There are two for cake. The first just says Decorated Cake, which is fine, as only the decoration is judged. The second says Iced Layer Cake (one half). What the crap? Did I mention that above these categories it says "Food to be exhibited must be on a paper plate covered in plastic wrap."

So, what, they want people to decorate a piece of cake? And then smash it down with Saran Wrap? And as for the "iced cake", are they judging taste or technique or both? Personally I don't like the idea of making and decorating a cake and then cutting it up before it's judged.

Incidentally, there is a whole different competition for cake judged by flavor, texture, crumb, etc.

Does this make sense to anyone? There isn't one place to enter an entire freakin' cake. I sent in an inquiry asking about it, but I doubt I'll get a response.

Are competitions near you so odd?

10 replies
JoAnnB Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 7:26pm
post #2 of 11

Not all state fairs have it together like Oklahoma and the sugar arts competition.

Oregon ICES finally got a money sponsor for the cake decorating last year. There are beginner and professional categories, with money prizes for several categories.

The cake on paper covered in saran is most likely included in the taste category. I found the home arts people for the fair were extremely helpful and provided lots of info on the cake decorating competition. Don't give up, yet.

hammer1 Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 7:41pm
post #3 of 11

I agree with JoAnn, find someone on the committee and ask... questions they are usually very helpful...I am in central ohio and we have a huge festival called the pumpkin show...they too only want half cakes for the cake tasting and judging contest ..... usually the saran is till the cakes get to the site and get covered by plastic domes...I have judged before and you really don't want to think about where some of the entrants have been before they got to the judging...no nice clean, sanitary, inspected facilities for most of these bakers..... the decorated cakes could be real or fake and they just judge the decorating....they do divide it up into classes and age divisions....I entered once and won....the first place price was $3.00...well worth my time....well, it would have been if I had a business, which I don't...great way to get your name out there if you win...I do have my students enter this contest if it falls when we are doing cake decorating...good luck

hammer1 Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 7:51pm
post #4 of 11

I agree with JoAnn, find someone on the committee and ask... questions they are usually very helpful...I am in central ohio and we have a huge festival called the pumpkin show...they too only want half cakes for the cake tasting and judging contest ..... usually the saran is till the cakes get to the site and get covered by plastic domes...I have judged before and you really don't want to think about where some of the entrants have been before they got to the judging...no nice clean, sanitary, inspected facilities for most of these bakers..... the decorated cakes could be real or fake and they just judge the decorating....they do divide it up into classes and age divisions....I entered once and won....the first place price was $3.00...well worth my time....well, it would have been if I had a business, which I don't...great way to get your name out there if you win...I do have my students enter this contest if it falls when we are doing cake decorating...good luck

cakedout Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 8:22pm
post #5 of 11

The sad thing is, that some of these local and county fairs are staffed by people that are not very knowledgeable when it comes to cake decorating.

I tried to beef up the decorated cake category in the fair that I am a Board Member of, but to no avail. The most entries I get is 4 in a good year. icon_confused.gif Seems no one has enough interest - even with some major advertising I did. Oh well. One of these years I want to try a "Food Network Cake Challenge" type thing...maybe that will go over! icon_lol.gif

KimAZ Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 9:23pm
post #6 of 11

Sadly, you're right. I don't understand why the county fair even bothers with a decorated cake division. Ours here in Arizona was horrible to be honest. Very unorganized, no rules, not even a cake judge. They got someone from another dept altogether to come "judge" my cakes.

My personal opinion is that when people think of a fair( county or State) in the culinary arts dept, they think of tasting food. So that's why the division for tasting cakes, cookies, pies, jams, jellies, etc, etc is far more popular. In our rules, there is something about a half cake too, but that is for the tasting division only, hence it only being half a cake and they will cut it to be eaten. If your rules aren't clear enough, call the super intendant in charge and ask.

In Arizona, there is a decorated cakes division for both real and dummy cakes. However, in both they're only judged on decoration. Nobody cuts or eats them. But again, the people behind the scenes have no idea what they are doing and when I found out they didn't even have a food related judge whatsoever, it totally made me sad that I put in so much effort in my cakes. I mean any joe blow could say..."Wow, nice cake! That's a winner, here's a ribbon!" but that doesn't mean much when you're expecting someone who knows about decorating.

I also think that they just don't take it as seriously as we do as cake decorators, ya know? To them, it's "just a fair" and they like to see people's cakes but it's not like a cake show or something more serious.

Sorry that wasn't much help but I do understand your pain! Do try to contact someone in charge for a more clear understanding. And ask about who does the judging. icon_wink.gif

KimAZ

Bettycrockermommy Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 9:35pm
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimAZ



In Arizona, there is a decorated cakes division for both real and dummy cakes. However, in both they're only judged on decoration. Nobody cuts or eats them.




Here in Pima County, we have the same problem. The odd thing here is that only the adults have separate categories for real and dummy cakes. When my kids made cakes for the fair earlier this year, they had to make their cakes from scratch, not even from a box. And then they didn't even cut into them! icon_mad.gificon_eek.gificon_mad.gif

When I asked the organizers at the fair about it, they told me that they NEVER cut into the decorated cakes. icon_confused.gif WTF!!! Then why do the cakes have to be made from scratch? icon_mad.gificon_mad.gif You know what she told me? They don't have room for more categories! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

JoAnnB Posted 22 Aug 2008 , 10:21pm
post #8 of 11

We are doing fairly well in Oregon. I recommend you talk to the local ICES (if you have one). They also provide the professional judges for the contest, and these two know their stuff.

As I said, they also got us a sponsor, there is a $500 prize for the best wedding cake. All the competition cakes must be fake.

kakeladi Posted 23 Aug 2008 , 12:33am
post #9 of 11

Muse: That is basically how all the county fairs in CA are (I've entered 3 different counties over the yrs and attended many more). The decorated cakes do NOT have to be covered. I bet it's the same for you.
As for the Layer cake catagory....they want to see how many times it has been torted, the filling, how it looks. Most of the time we would have to bring the layer cake as you described along with a slice for tasting.

shadowgypsie Posted 23 Aug 2008 , 3:19am
post #10 of 11

Muse,

At least your county Fair has a culinary division. The nearest thing to that ours has is BBQ contest.

I used to live in Jasper GA, Home of the marble festival I asked them if I could show a cake as a work of art in the Art Show and they said no. They said that there is no interest in cake decorating.

Guess they don't watch TV- the cake challenges are very Popular.

Muse Posted 25 Aug 2008 , 3:36pm
post #11 of 11

I emailed the person in charge of the competition and have yet to get any response. I have a sneaking suspicion that I just won't get one.

The requirements are not detailed so it is possible that there just isn't room to specify, but here is a link to it. Let me know if I'm just reading it wrong. It is on the third page, Division I.

http://coosavalleyfair.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=cy3XYuXSwto%3d&tabid=203&mid=628

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