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Preview — Marin County Fair Competitive Exhibits Program

2017 Marin County Fair

Early deadline for submitting entry forms for most departments is Thursday, May 11, 2017.

2017 Fair theme: Let the Funshine In!

Friday, June 30 through Tuesday, July 4.

Let The Funshine In!
All categories open to Adult, Junior, Family and Groups.

  • Tie-Dye
    Make a Tie-Dye garment, laundry bag, backpack, two or three dimensional work of art, piece of jewelry any other item.
  • Play-Doh®
    Create a work of art using this classic modeling material. Make an individual person or creature, building, scene, village, etc. Showcase your creativity.
  • Flashback to the 60’s!
    Enter a copy of one of your favorite photos taken by you or a family member or friend in the 1960’s. Reproduction enlargements up to 8 x 10 are acceptable.
  • Macramé
    Make any item using this form of knotting that was so popular in the 60’s. Examples: plant hangers, jewelry, clothing, wall sculptures, lamp shades, purses, ornaments, baskets, etc.
  • Bicycle Wheel Decorating
    Decorate a bicycle wheel(s) using any type of paint and/or glued or affixed objects. The first 75 exhibitors to enter will receive a recycled wheel to decorate. Call the Exhibit Department at (415) 473-7048, if you would like us to reserve a wheel.
  • Tin Crafts
    Tin Boxes — Decorate any metal container such as an Altoid® Tin using paint, needlework, decoupage, mixed media, a diorama scene, or any other technique.
    Tin Cans — Decorate one or more recycled tin can(s) into a functional container (pencil holder, etc.) or a sculptural work of art.
  • Selfies!
    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.
  • Spin Art
    Spin Art competitions will be held daily during the Fair. Contestants will have ten minutes to create a work of art using a spin art machine. Fun prizes will be awarded.
  • Tangle Art!
    Zentangle® style abstract, patterned drawings. Create a structured pattern according to your whim. It should not be representative of any recognizable object; rather, it should be abstract.
  • 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 60’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.
  • 4th Annual For the Birds! Competition
    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.
  • 9th Annual Baby Derby!
    A race for Crawlers. Babies crawl from one family member to another. The fastest crawler is the winner! Families who enter the contest in advance will receive one free fair admission.
  • 4th 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.

Many Incorporating the Let The Funshine In! Theme

Photography Competitions

Adult Photography

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

  • New! To celebrate the Fair Theme — Let the Funshine In! a new category entitled Kaleidoscope for photographic work celebrating Pop Art, Psychedelic Art and Abstract themed work has been added.
  • New! To celebrate the Fair Theme — Let the Funshine In! a special award will be given for the Best image of a Sunrise or Sunset .
  • Second Annual In Focus Competition in honor of renowned photographer Jack Fulton. Submit five images electronically focusing on one subject. The top three entries will be showcased at the Fair in print and digital formats. All additional selected work will be showcased digitally.
  • Due to the popularity of the Special Print Category Marvelous Marin! — this topic will be repeated for a second year.
    Prints may be of any Marin County scene, using any photo process (Monochrome, Color, Creative/Alternative). Two or three Dimensional.
    Awards for Marvelous Marin  will include —
    • Overall Best Marvelous Marin Entry
    • Best Urban Marin Scene
    • Best Marin Journalism Entry
    • Best Marin Landscape
    • Best Marin Coastline or Bay Scene
    • Best Faces of Marin
    • Best Marin Agricultural Scene
    • Best Marin Wildlife or Bird(s)

Capturing Fair Memories (Adult & New! Junior)

8th Annual Competition. A one day digital photography competition on Friday, 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 Let the Funshine In!

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. Submit entries in print form (framed). Open to all residents of the USA, 5 years and over.

Photography (Junior)

Juniors (five through eighteen 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 depicting the Fair theme: Let the Funshine In!
Prints may be taken with traditional film or digital cameras.


Fun contests for adults and juniors! Enter a snapshot in one or more of the following categories — My Pet, BFF — Best Friends Forever, and So Happy Together! Snapshots are to be unframed. Any size up to 5” x 7” will be accepted. Simple Rules — 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.

Art Competitions

Adult Fine Art — Let The Funshine In!

 New! To celebrate the Fair Theme, a new category entitled Kaleidoscope for Pop Art, Psychedelic Art and/or Abstract themed work will be featured.

Adult Fine Art — Marvelous Marin!

 Due to the popularity of the Special Category Marvelous Marin! — this subject matter will be repeated for a second year. Any two dimensional work of art depicting a Marin Scene may be submitted.

Marin Fair Plein Air

For the 12th year, the Fair will be sponsoring a Plein Air Painting Competition. It will be held on the first day of the Fair, Friday, 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.

Art Chairs — 15th Annual Competition

Get creative! Special prizes will be awarded for chairs celebrating Let the Funshine In!  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 2. Theme: Let the Funshine In!  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 Let the Funshine In!  & The 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love and Flashback to the 60’s!

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


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


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.

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 Let the Funshine In!

Junior Crafts

Featured fun categories include Make a Mask, Toys and Dolls, Puppets and Marionettes, Button Art, and Creating with Crayons.

Student Art Portfolios

This category features the work 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 Let the Funshine In!, Flashback to the1960’s, and Friendship!

Home Arts

Clothing, Textiles & Hobbies (Adult)

  • New! Patchwork
    Make a wearable garment or any other textile item (purses, blankets, laundry bags, stuffed animals/dolls, etc.) using a combination of two or more fabrics.
  • New! Potholders
    Make a potholder or oven mitt using any type of material. Special prizes will be awarded for workmanship, originality and creativity. Categories will include holiday and country themes, quilted, woven, etc.
  • 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 recycled fabrics.
  • Let the Funshine In!
    Special prizes will also be awarded to any Clothing or Textile Quilts, Needle Art, Sewing, Art to Wear, Knitting, Beadwork, etc. celebrating the Let the Funshine In!

Culinary Contests

New and returning featured competitions held during the Fair —

  • All American Fried Chicken Championship — Your favorite fried chicken recipe, hot or cold.
  • Bread! The Staff of Life! — French Breads, Whole Grain, Rustic Breads, Focaccia, Gluten Free, Flavored Breads, etc.
  • California Cheesecakes — Any recipe using one or more California produced cheeses.
  • Classic Cake Championship (3rd Annual) — Use an heirloom family or vintage recipe to create a spectacular cake.
  • Clover Country Quiche — Any quiche recipe, sweet or savory, using two or more Clover-Stornetta Farms products.
  • Divine Dips — Any recipe for a hot or cold dip.
  • Globe Trotting — A much-loved recipe that celebrates your family or any cultural heritage.
  • Gone Fishing! — Appetizer, Salad, or Entrée using one or more types of fish.
  • Healthy Choices — Healthy Salads, GMO Free, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Recipes using Kale, etc.
  • Loaf Cakes — Any recipe for a loaf cake, sweet or savory.
  • Loving Lasagna — Meat, Vegetarian or Dessert recipes.
  • Luscious Lemon Desserts — Lemon Pie, Cake, Cookies, Muffins, Trifle, Bread, etc.
  • One Potato, Two Potato! — Any recipe featuring sweet potatoes or any other variety of potato.
  • Recetas Latinas — Salsa, Enchiladas, Tamales and Desserts.
  • Say Cheese! Sonoma/Marin Cheese of Course! — Appetizers Entrees & Desserts using locally produced cheese.
  • Soups On! — Hot, Cold or Low Calorie. Special awards for soups made using local products.
  • 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. Sponsored by the California Pork Producers Association.

Decorated Foods

New competition for Decorated Cookies themed Let the Funshine In! 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 Let the Funshine In! 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 and Blueberries are featured categories for 2017.

Film & Video

Film & Video Festival

47th 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 —

  • Flower Power
  • Juke Box 45’s
  • Hula Hooping
  • Twister
  • Woodstock
  • Lassie
  • My Three Sons
  • Bonanza

Zen Gardens

Create a miniature stylized landscape through a carefully composed arrangement of rocks and sand — raked to represent ripples in water. If desired your Zen garden may also include miniature live plants, moss or a water feature.

Floriculture and Horticulture

Enter your vegetables, cut flowers, potted plants, miniature gardens, hanging baskets and floral arrangements. Featured competitions for 2017 include Herbs, Container Gardens and Fun with Marigolds.

Homebrew & Winemaking

32nd Annual Amateur Winemaking 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.

4thAnnual 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 Friday, June 30. It is a one day carrying cage show for any type of small 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

10th Annual Dog Care and Training 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” event are all planned.

Horse Shows

English & Dressage Shows for Adults and Juniors will be held on Saturday, July 1 in the Clover Sonoma Family Farm Arena.

Performing Arts

5th 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.

12th 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.

10th 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 Let The Funshine In! through an original song.

29th Annual Marin Star Search

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

13th Annual Marin Star Search — Piano

The Star Search Piano competition, also for ages 5 through 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.

44th Annual Fiddle Contest

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

15th 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.