Mountain Gardening

For those not too busy enjoying the Teton County Fair, which starts July 19 and runs through July 28, volunteers are always needed. Call Fair Manager Rachel Grimes at 733-5289 to sign up.

You know, there is something so wholesome about a good old-fashioned county fair. These annual summer events can be so much fun for all ages.

Carnival rides, arts and crafts, locally and nationally known musicians, tempting food vendors, photography displays and flowers. Then there’s the livestock barn — oh, that earthy smell! But it’s the horticulture competition in the Exhibit Hall that really gets my attention.

Let me back up and explain how the fair entries work. There are two divisions: open class and 4-H. Anyone, no matter how young or old, can enter the open class.

Folks will have to look at a fair program to choose what classes they might enter. Fair books were mailed out some weeks ago — this year’s Teton County Fair starts July 19 and runs through July 28 — but if you didn’t get one you can find everything you need to know online at TetonCountyFair.com/fair-entry-forms.

Not computer savvy? Stop by the fair office at 305 W. Snow King Ave. and catch up there.

Entries are judged by the Danish system, in which items are judged against set standards, not against each other. So that means that there can be more than one blue ribbon per class or more than one second place. Judges are experts in their fields and are chosen new every year or two to keep things fresh.

This time around there will be a small fee charged to participate in open class: $2 per entry if you fill out the forms ahead of time or $4 per entry day-of. There is only one entry allowed per class — and you can win money. If you are awarded a blue ribbon you’ll garner $4. Grand champions take home $10 and best of show pockets a whopping $25.

As I perused the 2019 fair book I found some interesting categories to enter, like “extraordinary vegetable,” one that is beyond what normally grows in Jackson Hole. Or “succulent sensation,” a category I’m going to enter this year. My tummy got rumbling when I came to the “trail mixes” category, and my interest was piqued to find categories for salsa, yard art and decorated rocks.

Fairs are an American tradition, a way to celebrate community and keep our small-town character alive. And our fair can always use a helping hand. Anyone interested in volunteering should call Fair Manager Rachel Grimes at 733-5289. Volunteers will earn a voucher for a free Lion’s Club breakfast in appreciation.

Wildflower of the Week

Rocky Mountain iris loves water.

Gardening guru Marilyn Quinn shares her green thumb knowledge weekly in the spring and summer. Contact her by emailing columnists@jhnewsandguide.com.

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