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Fair offers opportunity to be part of history
Special contests to honor 100th anniversary
fair stuff pic
Turlock business man and Stanislaus County Fair exhibit special contest sponsor Timm La Velle and Thea Harris of the Turlock Historical Society look over turn-of-the century cookbooks in search of a cake worthy of the 100-year anniversary of the County Fair. La Velle and Harris decided on a 1911 World’s Fair cake recipe. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

The annual Stanislaus County Fair offers residents a unique opportunity to focus on their creative sides through a variety of exhibitor categories and special contests.

Starting Sunday, Fair Exhibitor Handbooks will be available at locations in Turlock and surrounding areas. Aside from the yearly agriculture, cooking and arts and crafts categories, a section of special contests will be featured.

The special contest categories include decorated cookies, fudge, apple pie, salsa, ice cream, cheese casserole, “a cheesy idea,” art contest, fair photography, wildflower photography and living history photography. Dates and times are listed in the Exhibitor Handbook.

One of the most anticipated categories for both juniors and seniors is the “World’s Fair Cake” recipe contest, sponsored by Turlocker Timm La Velle. 

“It is a 100-year-old recipe to go along with the 100th year of the fair and the winner will have 100 years of bragging rights,” he said.

The recipe for the cake was discovered in a cookbook from the World’s Fair in 1911. The book was written by the Corona Club of San Francisco, a philanthropic women’s club at the time. The book and recipe was recently found by Thea Harris, the current museum coordinator for the Turlock Historical Society, which will donate a commemorative ornament to the top three finishers in the contest.

“It was quite a bit of research because a lot of the recipes from 1911 used ingredients that aren’t readily available today. We won’t have this competition again for 100 years so we want to get the word out that this is a county-wide competition and the winner will hold their title for 100 years,” said La Velle.

“Every year, the many talented residents of Stanislaus County gather at the fair to exhibit their masterpieces,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. “The exhibit program has been a main event of our fair for the majority of its 100 year history and there’s still a place for everyone to grow their talents and share fresh ideas.”

Entering the county’s largest talent exhibition can be done from any computer.  For online entries, visit Entries can also be done by mail — simply download entry forms from the fair’s website. Exhibit information and entry forms may also be picked up in person at the Stanislaus County Fair office located at 900 N. Broadway in Turlock, as well as several other locations throughout Stanislaus County. Call 668-1333 ext. 316 for more information. 

In addition to special contests, the fair’s School Involvement Program will offer students and teachers the opportunity to learn about the 100-year history of the fair and become part of the exhibit.

Teachers can now pick up a special 2011 historical packet to convey the fair’s rich history to students. The curriculum kits include educational reading, activities, supplies, historical information and photographs.

Every class project submitted will be on display at the fair and cash prizes and ribbons will be awarded to classes with the most superior projects.

“This year’s study gives students a valuable lesson in local history,” said Alkhas.

Curriculum kits are available on a first-come, first serve basis while supplies last. Early registration is highly encouraged.

Teachers who would like more information can call 668-1333 ext. 315.

The Exhibitor Handbooks will be available after Sunday at the following locations: Stanislaus County Fair, Cloth & Quilts, Turlock Library, Turlock Livestock Auction, Valley Distributors and Western Valley Insurance.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.