September 6, 2007
50 years of fair
Animals, donuts compete at the Hillsborough County Fair
By Lisa Brown email@example.com
The Hillsborough County fair in New Boston is a homespun treasure.
Exhibit halls full of homemade goods, fresh from kitchens around the area. People like The Andy Griffith Show’s Aunt Bea, proudly bringing in their homemade pickles to be judged.
The 50th annual Hillsborough County Agriculture Fair — full of animals, entertainment, food, rides and more — will run Sept. 7, 8 and 9, at the 4-H Youth Center, Route 13, New Boston (noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m on Sunday).
“It is very 4-H oriented; all of the animal shows other than the horse and ox pulling and skidding are put on by 4-H youth,” said Jolee Chase, 4-H program associate with UNH Cooperative Extension. “There will be youth who participate from Hillsborough and other invited counties throughout the state, from ages 5 to 18 years old.”
Throughout the fair grounds will be animal exhibits, including sheep, goats, dogs, rabbits, working steers, packing goats and dairy cattle. Spectator events include horse skidding, oxen pulling, horse pulling and stock farm tractor pulling contests.
As is tradition with county fairs, the Hillsborough County Fair offers festival-goers several opportunities to show and tell. Adults and children alike can participate in contests including baking and gardening. The rules for home grown vegetables read, “Many people can grow the ‘perfect’ tomato, cucumber or carrot, but not everyone can grow the required number for an exhibit — all of them uniform and of high quality.”
One of the biggest draws each year is the pumpkin growing contest.
“We have some very loyal pumpkin growers throughout Hillsborough County,” Chase said. “Last year’s pumpkin was over a thousand pounds.”
That’s a lot of pie, which is also a big crowd pleaser. This year’s pie baking contest is open to anyone in Hillsborough County who thinks they make the best apple pie. But here are rules. The pie must be homemade, no mixes, it must have two crusts, a top and bottom, and it must be accompanied by a recipe written on a clean 3” x 5” card. Chase said because there are so many pies to taste, the judges rotate each year.
“They get sick of tasting every single pie. They usually do pie one year and change to something else the next year,” Chase said. “By the time you get done, you are pretty sick of apple pie.”
While the apple pie baking contest allows contestants to follow their own tried and true recipes, the King Arthur Flour baking contest rules are rigid. The King Arthur Flour Company in Vermont oversees this event. King Arthur Flour must be used and the recipe, which is provided, must be followed exactly.
Adults this year will be making a Classic Cinnamon-Nut Coffee Ring while junior bakers will challenged to perfectly bake the best Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. When it comes to the King Arthur Flour Baking Contest, there is no wiggle room.
“You have to follow their recipe; they want to see how they [the baked goods] get the different taste,” Chase said. “It is a contest they have done for 10 or 12 years and everyone uses the exact same recipe and most of the time they all taste different.”
For bakers who prefer other flour brands, there are plenty of baking categories to enter, including a new category, the buttermilk doughnut contest. While bakers don’t have to use King Arthur Flour, they must all follow the exact same recipe for buttermilk donuts.
In the various contests during the three days, winners will receive awards and recognition. In some categories, winners can earn anywhere from 50 cents (second place award for flowering kale) to as much as $100, which will be awarded to the person who grows the largest pumpkin.
To participate in any of the contests, all entries, including baked goods and vegetables, must be delivered on Thursday, Sept. 6, the day before the fair opens to the public. Entries are to be taken to the French Building between 2 and 9 p.m. Judging will take place on Friday morning before the doors open to the public. The fair opens to the public on Friday at noon. Parking is free and no pets are allowed on the fairgrounds.
Classic Cinnamon-Nut Coffee Ring, one of the challenges in the Hillsborough County fair’s baking contests. Courtesy King Arthur Flour
50th annual Hillsborough County Agriculture Fair
When: Friday, Sept. 7, from 9 a.m. (noon for the public) to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 4-H Youth Center, Route 13 in New Boston.
Tickets: $8 for adults for one day, $20 for adults for all three days; $5 for children 6 to 12 for one day, $12 for children for three days; children under 6 get in free; $5 for one day and $12 for three days for seniors $63 and over.
More info: Call 641-6060 or go to www.new-boston.nh.us
Baking tip: When you see a recipe that calls for 1 cup of flour it is equal to 4 1/4 ounces of flour. The King Arthur recipes include the weight of ingredients for more accuracy. According to Allison Furbish, media relations coordinator for King Arthur Flour, bakers should use the “fluff, sprinkle and sweep” method when it comes to measuring flour.
“You fluff up the flour in the bag, because in shipping it gets compressed, so you want to use a wooden spoon and fluff up the flour to aerate it,” Furbish said. “Using a dry measuring cup and a scoop, scoop the flour out of the bag and sprinkle it into the dry measuring cup until it is slightly overflowing, take a straight edge and sweep across the cup to level the flour.” Furbish said with this method you’ll get a more accurate cup of flour.
Entries must be home prepared, no mixes. Put your name on bottom of plate. Follow the recipe below. Enter 2 plain and 2 glazed donuts. This contest is for adults and teens over 14. There is a junior competition for kids under 14 with adult supervision for frying.
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
5 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder plus 1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or shortening, melted oil for frying.
Combine the buttermilk, eggs and sugar. Set aside. Mix together dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir. Stir in the melted butter or shortening and knead until a soft dough forms.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4 inch thickness (roll thin for best results). Cut with a 2 1/2 inch or larger donut cutter.
In a deep-fat fryer or electric skillet, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry the donuts on each side for approximately 1 minute or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip in a powdered sugar glaze while hot and decorate with nuts or candy sprinkles if desired.
3 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp margarine, softened (optional)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla, milk or water.
Combine the powdered sugar, margarine and vanilla in mixing bowl. Mix well and add just enough milk or water until glaze is the consistency you desire. ( A thinner consistency will produce a thin glaze on the doughnuts; a thicker consistency will be more like a frosting.)
First place wins a large canister and a rosette and second place wins a Hillsborough County Fair apron and rosette.
Classic Cinnamon-Nut Coffee Ring
From the adult category of the King Arthur Flour Baking Contest
Rule: King Arthur Flour must be used and recipe must be followed exactly in order to participate in this event
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