It’s Just Around the Corner

Only a few days left! That’s right, Dear Readers!

July 1 is inching its way into reality when the deadline for entering open class food contests at the illustrious 2018 Iowa State Fair will be upon us.

The nominal entry fees have been the same for decades. With a single five-dollar greenback, one to ten entry tags will wing their way into hundreds of Iowa mailboxes far and wide.

I well remember those exciting days of perusing the Iowa State fair premium catalog. This occurred months before the July 1 entry deadline! 

In the spring time when my catalog had arrived in the mail (prior to online entering), it was a very joyful day!  I was so drawn into the immediate desire to take a peek into this “book of potential creative happenings.”  But only a peek was allowed until my day’s activities were completed.

Finally, it was nighttime. In the still of the night, all lights were extinguished except one reading lamp. The clock might have said “get some sleep,” yet too much excitement had been poured into my creative veins to allow that to happen! 

With pen in hand, over 200 contest divisions were sorted and marked with an exclamation point as a definite “yes” contest to enter or with a question mark as a “we’ll see.”

An Ambitious Spirit

Annually, 15 different contests would appeal to my ambitious spirit. With each year’s fair competition in the books, I gained valuable education outside a culinary classroom. Little did I know that state-fair baking experiences would historically be the catalyst for an even more exciting future in the food industry!

The Iowa State Fair served as a platform from which I sprung into a profession that continues to bring professional contentedness to me and to others who see and taste my desserts!

As I recently perused the online premium book for this year’s food competitions, what struck me as uniquely heartwarming was the number of contests sponsored by Iowa families like yours and Miss NiNi’s.

Some of those families have created a contest in order to establish a legacy to a loved one who had competed for years.

Others sponsor contests in order to encourage new generations of Iowa baking and cooking contestants.

There could be some families or individuals who agree to contest sponsorship just because they truly believe in the opportunities this culinary remnant of the Iowa State Fair affords every-day Iowans.

Fond Memories

Dearly Beloved and I have sponsored the Homemade Angel Food Cake Contest in tribute to my mom and yes, in memory of the hundreds of eggs I gathered as a child! Mom’s angel food cakes were out-of-this-world, melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Miss NiNi’s Create A Family Baking Legacy Contest was generated by Yours Truly in order to encourage generations of family members to bake together as a team, thereby passing the baton of culinary wisdom from the seasoned baker to younger creative souls.

Dear Readers, conceivably what brings Miss NiNi the most reward with Iowa-State-Fair-food-contest sponsorship is this simple fact. Dear Daughters, Little Missy, and I form our own multi-generational food judging team.

Yes, three generations of our family don judging badges annually for a great team time of collaborative evaluation in the baking world. The merits of this opportunity grow exponentially from year to year. We not only learn more about each other and from each other in this judging environment, but we also have the joy of sampling the creative desserts of exceptionally talented Iowans who have entered the two contests associated with Miss NiNi and my family. 

It’s not too late to catch the fun by entering the food competition at the Iowa State Fair.

Open class food superintendent, Karen McKilligan, will generously and sweetly welcome you with open arms as will the hundreds of folks who call the Elwell Family Food Center home for eleven days in August. 

Check out for more information. 

July 1 is just around the corner!

Miss NiNi