Most of the time these days when you hear that phrase, it is relating to an obscure “feature” of computer software as in the phrase, “But, dude, the really cool part is when you SHIFT click — the thing turns purple and flashes really fast!” Yeah, great.
But the Wisconsin Valley Fair has a really cool part too. You can join in. No, not by going to the shows or riding the rides. YOU can be part of the show! In a way, county fairs were the first blogs — everyone got to be a “content provider.”
Most folks (for a long time, myself included) thought pretty much that all of the homemade “stuff” at the fair — the cakes, pickles, quilts and what not — were all made by 4-H kids or FFA kids or something. And yes, a lot of them are. But YOU can enter too! It’s called “Open Class” because, well, it is open to anyone.
You can make all kinds of stuff and enter it in the Fair, there is even a category for computer graphics! Cakes, candies, photographs, artwork, houseplants — all kinds of things. Stuff you probably like to do anyway — knitting, sewing, floral arranging. But wait, here is the really cool part. And no it doesn’t flash or turn purple.
Actually there are lots of really cool parts. First, it cost $14 to enter stuff in this year’s fair, BUT you then get unlimited entry into the fair! So you save 5 bucks right up front. But wait it gets cooler! For each project, if you win a ribbon, you get a “premium.” The premium is a couple of bucks back! Sometimes as much as $5.50 for a Blue Ribbon in some categories. Enter enough projects and get enough ribbons and you can get your $14 back — free fair!
But now is the REALLY, REALLY, COOL PART (No purple flashing here either!)
Your projects actually get judged by a someone who knows a bit about whatever area you are working in — and they look at your work tell what you did right — and how you can improve! Wow! Free coaching from one of your friendly neighbors.
The judges working with the kids today were really fantastic, I must say. They took their time, gave the kids lots of positive strokes, but did not hesitate to give suggestions and lessons so the kids could improve for next year. And the judging is pretty much the same in the Open Class.
So — resolution for next year — enter a project in the fair! Possibly a free trip to the fair for you — and a chance to talk with someone who loves your hobby as much as you do! Can’t beat it!