County Fair gives opportunity for those with serious passions


Photo by Anika Nyp

Sophomore Emily Ashmore waits next to her goat while waiting for the live stock judging to start.

Brianna Carmack, Entertainment Editor

During the last week of July, the Riley County Fair is full of people looking forward to seeing the rodeo, eating fair food and riding rides. However, some enjoy entering the many 4-H contests that the fair has to offer. Some of these contests include photography, horticulture, crafting, entomology and cake decorating. The winners receive awards, such as a Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, an honorable mention and ribbons.

One popular contest is the photography contest. In this contest, people will enter in photos that have been taken in everyday life. 

Photo by Anika Nyp
Sophomore Julianna Poe goes through her picture judging where she received critiques and advice for next time.

One Manhattan High student, sophomore Eden Westfahl has been entering photos in ever since she was seven. 

“My first year I entered a picture, I got a Grand Champion in my class,” Westfahl said. “Last year I won a Grand Champion and Reserve Champion in my class. I’ve won an honorable mention and a lot of people ribbons.”

Some of the photos that Westfahl has taken that tend to receive high results include pictures of nature.

“I’ve entered in pictures of animals multiple times and they’ve gotten me very high results,” sophomore and contestant Eden Westfahl said.

Westfahl is also a fan of taking still-life photos, which also tend to get high results.

One thing that helps with improvement for future contests is the criticism and feedback the judges will give to the contestants. 

“[Judges] always tell you what you could improve on with a photo, what they are looking for in future years,” Westfahl said.

Not only are there contests for photography, but there are also contests involving horticulture. 

Unlike the photography contest, people entering the horticulture contest have to prepare for months. The judges base their decisions on the quality of the plants, flowers and produce.

“So with horticulture, if you’re into gardening, you can grow your own plants and then show your produce off at the fair,” sophomore Julianna Poe said.

Photo by Anika Nyp
Sophomore Julianna Poe hands off her okra to a 4-H judge.

Poe also enjoys entering the cake decorating and baking contests.

“With food, you can bake muffins, cookies, cakes, or anything [that peaks your interest], and the judges will give you feedback on how well you did,” Poe said.

When it comes to preparing for food contests, the time to prepare for those is a lot sooner to the fair.

“For food, you have to either bake it a day before or the day you enter it,” Poe said. “Cake decorating is also done the day before it’s judged.”

Since the Riley County fair has ended, some may think that the time to enter contests is over. However, people are still eligible to enter contests during the State Fair in Hutchinson. Other than that, the time to start preparing for next year’s contests starts now. Find something that your passionate about and enter it into a 4-H contest. 

“I always try to enter in at least one thing into the fair,” Westfahl said.