And the second place winner is…

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’ll know that the Oregon State Fair always features prominently in my goals. I’ve submitted baked goods like homemade marshmallows and cookies, craft items like a dollhouse and dollhouse furniture, and last year I really went at it with the table decorating competition.

This year, I wanted to mix it up and instead of submitting, I would see things from a different point of view and volunteer for the fair. I pictured myself with a push broom in the barn, or maybe directing people to the jam table. But after teaching two full (and condensed) college classes, the last thing I wanted to do in August was doing anything that resembled work. I made a tough decision not to volunteer, and on a whim to instead submitted a gingerbread house for fun.


Could I have done better? Definitely. Thor was out of town and after hitting the gym that morning, I said to myself, “I could watch Mad Men all day, or I could make a gingerbread house,” and chose the latter. It was a scramble to buy supplies, bake, and decorate a house in one afternoon. The next day I dropped it off in a rush with some friends, and then headed to the nearby casino (because why not?).


Ironically, the one year I could care less about winning a ribbon, I won second place.


I had completely forgotten about the whole thing until today when I checked the mail and had a package from the Oregon State Fair, complete with my ribbon, a detailed judging sheet, and a bunch of votes for my gingerbread house as “People’s Choice.” It also included a knife…? (Did I miss something? Is it a special gingerbread knife?)


I’m pretty sure that’s my mom’s handwriting on the People’s Choice vote.

I learned several things about gingerbread decorating from the judging sheet: for instance, you should use tweezers to affix items so it’s less messy or the “pressure” of the piping should be the same all over the house. Personally, I wanted to piping to be visible, but I got graded down for that. More landscaping should have also happened, but at that point my hand was cramping up and all I wanted to do was get back to that Mad Men marathon I had been planning.

So even though I didn’t get to volunteer for the fair as I had initially hoped, I still participated, and now there’s something to show for it. For next year, I have several creative (and much more exciting) ideas for how the fair will factor into my bucket list. Stay tuned…


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