What's New!

What's New!

Hard copies of the 270-page guide will be available on March 21, 2016. Deadline date for submitting entry forms for most departments is Thursday, May 12, 2016.

2016 Fair theme:

75 Years – What a Ride! 75th Marin County Fair – Thursday, June 30 through Monday July 4.

75 Years – What a Ride! Special Adult, Junior, Family and Group categories.


Make and/or decorate a Merry-Go-Round or Carousel Animal of any size. You may use any type of material, new or recycled.

What a Ride!

Design and make a Carnival ride or a replica of an entire Carnival of any size up to four feet square. You may use any type of material, new or recycled.

Fair Memories

Employing a collage or assemblage format – celebrate your Marin County Fair memories throughout the years with any combination of art, vintage or new photographs, memorabilia, ribbons, poetry, quotations, etc. Maximum size 4’ x 4’.

Treasure Chests

Make and/or decorate a Treasure Chest of any size. You may theme your Treasure Chest to portray your favorite hobby or the Marin County Fair.

Time Capsules

Collect objects to go in your time capsule. Objects for time capsules need not be of high monetary value. Rather, choose things that reflect the spirit of the present. Examples:

  • Labels or packaging of favorite foods or other products. Include price tags, if you can.
  • Newspapers or magazines showing current events or current trends
  • Popular toys or tools
  • Photographs
  • Filled Journals
  • Letters
  • Currency
  • Favorite things
  • Clothes and fashion items of the current time
  • Personal messages to and from others
  • Indicators of high technology that demonstrate the current state of the art.

Decorated Parasols

Decorate a parasol using any type of paint and/or glued or sewn on objects. The first 75 exhibitors to enter will receive a parasol to decorate.


A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital device including cameras, tablets, smart phones, etc. The competition is open to youth and adults. Prizes will be awarded for the most fun and creative entries. Selfies must be no larger than 5” x 7” and matted, but not framed.

Decorated Hats & Caps

Decorate any style of hat or cap. Themes include At the Fair, Sports, Western, Garden, Fantasy – Out of this World and Let’s Party!

Frame Up!

Build and or decorate a picture frame. Frame may be any size and embellished in any way.

Etch-A Sketch® Art Contests!

Contests will be held multiple times daily during the Fair using this iconic mechanical drawing toy that was a rage in the 1960’s and is still popular today. The contests will be held on–the-spot. Participants will be given ten minutes to create their Etch-A Sketch® masterpiece.

For the Birds!

Build and or decorate a Bird House, Bird Feeder, Birdbath, or Birdcage. Any type of material may be used. Categories for Juniors, Adults, and Groups.

8th Annual Baby Derby!

A race for Crawlers. Babies crawl from one family member to another. The fastest crawler is the winner!

3rd Annual Baby Stroller Decorating & Parade

Stroller may be decorated at home or at the Fair. Participants may decorate their stroller or wagon using any type of materials. Families who enter the contest in advance will receive one free fair admission. Prizes for Best Decorated Strollers and Best Decorated Wagons. Following the awarding of prizes, there will be a short parade around the fairgrounds.

Photography Competitions

You may enter prints of any subject matter in the Monochrome, Color, Creative/Alternative categories or electronic images in the Projected Images category.

The Special Print Category for 2016 is Marvelous Marin!

Any Marin County scene. Any photo process acceptable (Monochrome, Color, Creative/Alternative). Two or three dimensional. Awards for Marvelous Marin! will include –

  • Overall Best Marvelous Marin Entry
  • Best Marin Landscape
  • Best Urban Marin Scene
  • Best Marin Coastline or Bay Scene
  • Best Marin Journalism Entry
  • Best Faces of Marin
  • Best Marin Agricultural Scene
  • Best Marin Wildlife or Bird(s)

Capturing Fair Memories (Adult & New! Junior)

7th Annual Competition. A one day digital photography competition on Thursday, June 30. Open to all residents of the USA, 9 years and over. Photographs must be taken between 11 am and 7 pm anywhere on the fairgrounds and should be fair related. Photos will be uploaded on a computer at the Fair for judging. Great prizes, including special awards for the photos depicting 75 Years – What a Ride!

Mobilography (Adult and Junior)

Mobilography is photographic art that employs electronic devices with built-in digital cameras such as mobile phones, pocket personal computers, iPads, compasses, field-glasses, etc. All manipulation of the photos must be accomplished through apps on the mobile device. All entries to be submitted as prints. Open to all residents of the USA, 5 years and over.

Photography (Junior)

Juniors (five through 18 years of age) may enter up to a maximum of four prints. Categories include monochrome, color, creative, and/or manipulated and a special category for photos of Marin County entitled Marvelous Marin! Prints may be taken with traditional film or digital cameras. There will also be special awards for images depicting the Fair theme: 75 Years – What a Ride!


Fun contests for adults and juniors! Enter a snapshot in one or more of the following categories – My Pet, Marvelous Marin, and New! – The Golden Years: Snapshots of people 75 years and older. Snapshots are to be unframed. Any size up to 5” x 7” will be accepted. Simple Rules -- Just mount your “snapshot” on heavy paper or cardstock with a small border. Prizes will be awarded for the best entry, most creative entry, the funniest, most original, etc.

Adult Fine Art Competitions

Marvelous Marin!

A new category for the Fine Art show is—Marvelous Marin!—any two dimensional work of art depicting a Marin scene.

Marin Fair Plein Air

For the 11th year, the Fair will be sponsoring a Plein Air Painting Competition. It will be held on the first day of the Fair, Thursday, June 30. Plein Air (painting in the open air) became famous in France in the 19th century. Artists may choose any area on the fairgrounds to create their work of art. They may use any medium -- oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, etc. The works are judged at the end of the day and the compositions will then be showcased for the remainder of the Fair. An award will be presented for the best work showcasing school aged children at the Fair.

Fine Art – Fine Craft – Encaustics

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax or other types of wax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood—though canvas and other materials are often used. Encaustic painting is an ancient technique, dating back to the Greeks, who used wax to caulk ship hulls. Some of the oldest examples are portraits of Egyptians by Greek painters dating around 100 to 300 AD. Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990’s with people using electric irons, hotplates and heated styli on different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery.

Art Chairs - 14th Annual Competition

Get creative! Special prizes will be awarded for chairs celebrating 75 Years – What a Ride! There are categories for juniors and junior teams, adult individual and adult groups and families. Any type of chair, (wood, metal, upholstered, etc.), may be embellished in any way. Chairs may be made from scratch or purchased and embellished. Additional prizes for miniature chairs, child’s sized chairs, and stools are also offered.

Art on the Spot - A Family Art Event

This family event will take place on Sunday, July 3. Theme: 75 years – What a Ride! Families will be given a sheet of plywood or a tall cardboard tube as their canvas and will have two hours to create a work of art. Prizes will be awarded for best work, best fair theme, and most creative entries. Call the Entry Office at 415.473.7048 for more information.

Cartoon Art

Adult and Junior hand drawn and digital categories. Special cartoon categories are 75 Years – What a Ride! & Marvelous Marin!

Trash To Treasure Arts & Crafts

This popular category for juniors, adults, and groups returns for the eighth year. Use recycled and/or earth – friendly new materials to create both functional and artistic objects.


Adult and Junior Competitions celebrating the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.

Junior Arts & Crafts

New! Printmaking

Create a work of art using any type of printing. Examples – Citrus or Vegetable Prints, Building Block Prints, Linoleum Prints, Woodcuts, Silkscreens, etc.

New! Celebrate the 75th!

Create a work of art depicting any scene at the Marin County Fair – including the Barnyard, Carnival, Fair Food, Fireworks, etc.

New! Tangle Art!

Zentangle-style art is an abstract, patterned drawing. Create a structured pattern according to your whim. It should not be representative of any recognizable object; rather, it should be abstract.

Digital Art

Create a work of art on your computer or any other electronic device. Print it and enter it in the Fair. Use your imagination and get digitally creative. Special category for digitally composed renditions celebrating 75 Years – What a Ride!


Juniors may create their own portrait in any medium (painting, drawing, computer generated, etc.), and may also submit a snapshot of themselves. Special rosettes will be awarded for the best self-portraits.

Junior Crafts

Featured fun categories include Button Art, Crayon Art, Popcorn Art, and Toothpick Art.

Student Art Portfolios

This category features art work by students who have just completed their Junior or Senior year of High School. A portfolio consists of five works by one student, any combination of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and/or photography. Awards include the honor of being selected “Distinguished Young Artist of the Year”.

Literary Arts

Creative Writing

Junior and Adult categories including Poetry, Haiku Poetry, Short Stories, Essays, Plays, and Biographies. Special prizes will be awarded for poetry and short story entries that celebrate 75 Years – What a Ride! and Marvelous Marin!

Home Arts - Clothing, Textiles & Hobbies (Adult)

New! Decorated Aprons

Make or decorate a purchased or vintage apron using any type of material. The first 25 people to enter will receive an apron to decorate.

Reusable Grocery/Shopping Bags

Make and/or Decorate a Reusable Grocery/Shopping Bag. A special award for the Best Grocery/Shopping bag created with Recycled Material.

Clothing Revisited

Reconstructed clothing using a combination of two or more fabrics. Special prizes will also be awarded to any Clothing or Textile Quilts, Needle Art, Sewing, Art to Wear, Knitting, Beadwork, etc. entry celebrating the 75 Years – What a Ride! theme.

Culinary Contests

New and returning featured competitions held during the Fair –

  • California Cheesecakes – Any recipe using one or more California produced cheeses.
  • Classic Bread Pudding – Your favorite recipe using one or more California Dairy Products.
  • 2nd Annual Classic Cake Championship – Use an heirloom family or any vintage recipe to create a spectacular cake.
  • Clover Country Cuisine – Any recipe using two or more Clover Stornetta Farms products.
  • Comfort Food – Classic Recipes from your mother’s kitchen.
  • GMO Free! – Any recipe using entirely GMO free ingredients.
  • Healthy Choices – Healthy Salads, Baked Items, Gluten-Free, Recipes using Kale, etc.
  • Kebobs! – All types - Meat, Vegetable, Fruit, and/or Dessert.
  • Perfect Poultry – Any recipe using Chicken, Duck, Goose, Cornish Game Hen, etc.
  • Raising the Bar – Bar Cookies including Brownies, Lemon Bars, and Nut Bars
  • Recitas Latinas – Enchiladas, Tamales, Guacamole and Salsa!
  • Say Cheese! – Mac & Cheese and recipes using cheese produced in Marin.
  • Sensational Salads – Your favorite Main Course or Potato Salad.
  • Strawberry Delight – Strawberry Shortcake, Pie, Cake, Cobbler, Cookies, Muffins, Trifle, Bread, etc.
  • The Greatest Pies in the USA – Any variety of sweet or savory pie, tart or galette.
  • This Little Piggy! Pork Cook-Off – Pork Appetizers, Entrées, Ribs, Pulled Pork, Carnitas, and Bacon.

Decorated Foods

New competition for Decorated Cookies themed 75 Years – What a Ride! using any combination of edible and non-edible decorations. Cookie cutters will be distributed to the first 50 contestants. A focus on cake decorating will include Special Occasion, Birthday, Wedding, Fourth of July, and Holiday Cakes. In addition a category for 75 Years – What a Ride! themed decorated cakes and foods will be featured.

Preserved Foods

Enter dried foods, canned fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, pickles and vinegars. There is a special division for Preserved Foods made from home grown products. Apples! is the featured category for 2016.

Film & Video

Film & Video Festival

46th annual Marin County International Festival of Short Film and Video – Categories for Adults include Narrative, Documentary, Animated, Experimental, and Children/Family. No Entry Fee! Maximum running time is 30 minutes.

Junior Video!

A video competition including a category for cell phone videos. Get technologically creative by electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of images to scenes in motion. There will be categories for middle school and high school students.

Floral Arts, Floriculture and Horticulture

Floral Arts – Amateur and Professional

Examples of Floral Arrangement Themes

  • Fine Arts & Crafts
  • The Barnyard
  • Fireworks!
  • Ferris Wheel
  • The Film Festival
  • Fair Food

Floriculture and Horticulture

Enter your vegetables, cut flowers, potted plants, miniature gardens, hanging baskets and floral arrangements. Featured competitions for 2016 include Container Gardens, The Magic of Marigolds, and Herbs.

Homebrew and Winemaking Winemaking – Amateur

31st annual competition. Open to all amateur winemakers. Enter your homemade red, white, dessert, fruit or sparkling wine. A special competition for the artistry of wine labels is also included.

3rd Annual Amateur Homebrew Competition Enter your Pale Ale, Stout, Pilsner, IPA, or any other type of Homebrew.

Awards will be presented for best styles of beers, plus overall Best Homebrew of Show.

Clover Stornetta Family Farm

Livestock Shows

The popular Junior Dairy Cattle, Dairy Goat, Pygmy Goat, Classic Beef and Market Swine Shows will also take place in the Barnyard. Included will be breed classes, showmanship classes, and educational displays on the local agricultural industry.

Fur And Feathers and Pocket Pets

Rabbits, Poultry, and Guinea Pigs of every description will be on display. Bring your pet to the Pocket Pet Show on Thursday, June 30. It is a one day carrying cage show for any type of pet – turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, etc. Special prizes will be awarded for the prettiest pet, funniest pet, best decorated cage, etc. It’s great fun.

Dog Care and Training

Ninth annual competition is for juniors enrolled in a dog care and training project or class. Dog showmanship (grooming and fitting), obedience exercises, a rally course, costume competition and “Hide and Seek” events are all planned.

Horse Shows

English & Dressage Shows for Adults and Juniors will be held on Thursday, June 30 in the Clover Stornetta Family Farm Arena.

Performing Arts

4th Annual Junior Public Speaking

Students from the Bay Area are eligible to participate in this oratory competition showcasing students speaking in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain.

11th Annual “Dancing Stars” Competition

An open dance competition for ages 18 and over. Contestants may perform any style of dance – tap, ballroom, salsa, boogie, West Coast Swing, etc. Performers may enter as couples, or groups. Special Awards for performances interpreting the Fair theme through Dance.

9th Annual Singing Stars Competition

For adult individuals, duets and groups. From opera to show tunes, country to classical – showcase your vocals. Special Awards for performances showcasing the Fair theme 75 Years – What a Ride! through an original song.

28th Annual Marin Star Search

Junior Performing Arts Competition includes dance, vocal, instrumental, and drama categories for both individuals and groups. Ribbons and cash prizes and additional awards will be given.

12th Annual Marin Star Search - Piano

The Star Search Piano competition, also for ages 5-19, will feature all styles of piano, from classical to jazz. Contestants will perform on a baby grand piano in the beautiful indoor Showcase Theater.

43rd Annual Fiddle Contest

For all ages (Juniors and Adults) and skill levels. Also held in the Showcase Theater.

14th Annual Hip Hop and Break Dance Contest

Once again there will be categories in both “Break Dancing” and “Hip Hop” for Youth, Teens, and Adults. Individual and Group entries will be accepted. Contestants are scored on Technical Skills, Showmanship, Creativity, Rhythm, and Costume.