Raleigh, N.C. — Photography, applesauce, beer, cheese, flowers, crafts, decorated cakes, even honey and bees — the fight for blue ribbons in these competitions at the North Carolina State Fair is hot.
Beyond the attention-grabbing rides, games and fried food of the midway, the culinary, horticulture and crafts competitions have a long history at the State Fair.
"It's a part that a lot of people kind of ignore, and I wish more people would come in to see this stuff. This is what I come to see," said Catherine Stewart, of Raleigh, who is entering the photography contest.
This year, many of the contests have more entries than ever before, said Reba Hill, who manages the competitions.
More people are growing and canning their own vegetables or taking up crafts, she said, and while the prize money isn't much, they are entering these competitions for one big reason.
"They want the ribbon. They want that ribbon badly. And they want a big ribbon," Hill said.
Anna Browning, 12, of Raleigh, hopes her applesauce will bring home a big, blue ribbon this year. Her recipes have won them in the past.
"It feels good, because I accomplished something," Anna said.
Stewart holds similar expectations for the photo from Fort Worth, Texas, she's entering.
"To get the blue ribbon would be great. If I don't, that's OK. It's a great time," she said.
The 2012 State Fair runs Oct. 11-21. The art and photography contest displays are in the Kerr Scott Building, and the home goods competition is in the Education Building.