Summer is creeping up on us quite quickly, and this means there is a plethora of summer fairs and shows just around the corner. (Seriously, how did that happen, it honestly only seemed like yesterday that I was buying Easter eggs for everyone!) Tempus Fugit!
Spring and summer fairs are great fun. There's great food to be enjoyed; competitions for the best ram / cow / rabbit to watch; displays of home made crafts to behold; unique stalls to buy from; talented entertainers to watch; and generally great fun to be had.
We'd not been to a summer fair for many a moon, so Mr E & I joined my parents to visit our local show two summers ago. Seriously, we had a great time. There was a humorous display of men-wheeling-chain-saws cutting wood into various shapes; another crowd pleaser was the historical jousting; the husky dog sled pullers were good also.
There were so many categories a baker could enter - preserves (you could try my Tomato Chutney), scones, cookies (perhaps try my Cranberry & Oat Cookies), items for a buffet (try this Beetroot, Tomato & Feta Flan), cupcakes (these Blueberry & Lemon Cupcakes go down a storm), Victoria sandwich cake, chocolate work (my Chocolate Owls would be great here), the list is endless.
So how does the day work? You need to register with the show and let them know which category you're entering. Your bakes then need to be delivered early morning (our show stated 9AM). Mum & I arrived at the location early to deposit my home made goods. The tent is then closed to all except the judges, whilst your homemade products are cut into, tasted and ranked. This can certainly take a couple of hours. Once the judging has been completed, the tents are re-opened and the items can be viewed by all. I think some fairs actually cover the edible items with a clear net (cloche style) to prevent flies from landing on them and little sticky fingers touching the produce. At some shows, the top three places may receive a rosette (our show sadly didn't). The winners received a small monetary amount, not enough to retire on though! It's all just for a bit of fun. Of course, if you do fancy entering a summer show, check out the relevant show's website for details. Also speak to the secretary of the craft section, who, I'm sure, would be happy to offer guidance.
There are so many fairs to visit from now to the end of summer, big and small. If you fancy going to a show this summer, have a look here which has compiled a comprehensive list of agricultural shows throughout Britain. Do check out your local show, and it's great fun if you do (or even don't) enter any of the numerous competitions.
And, finally 'summer'. For me, other than warm days (fingers crossed) and summer shows, it also means fresh British Strawberries.
Back in March I bought and planted a few strawberry plants, have a read here. The plants, given our limited space, are held in plastic plant containers (not the most attractive to be honest) and tied to a fence in a sunny position. They are doing REALLY well. The warm sun a few weeks ago really set them off growing. The fruits are starting to develop nicely, and we just need a nice spell of warm weather and home-grown strawberries will be featuring on our menu. And did you know that more than one bee needs to visit your strawberry flowers for them to be pollinated fully in order for the fruit to develop fully!
If you have a nice sunny spot and fancy growing your own strawberries, I'm sure local garden centres will still be stocking these lovely plants.
What's the best part of summer for you? Will you be going to a summer fair this year?