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 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…