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Perfect your dishes, vie for blue ribbon in food contests. The Clackamas County Fair and Oregon State Fair competitions will be open soon.

The Clackamas County Fair will be held Aug. 12-17 at the fairgrounds in Canby. Barb Randall encourages all to enter healthy competitions; its fun for the whole family. She shares a recipe for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, which could be a contender in the Its a Classic cake-baking competition or the Mens Chocolate Cake competition.

Feeling pretty confident about your culinary skills these days? Then put them to the test and enter the Clackamas County Fair. With new divisions and other changes, folks of any age have the chance to win a blue ribbon at this year's fair.

Besides the Kitchen Cupboard competitions, there are livestock exhibits, garden crops, art, floral arrangements, textiles and photography. You can see all the divisions and register online at clackamas.us/fair/handbook.html.

The theme of this year's fair is "Farm Fresh, Handmade, Home Grown." It runs Aug. 12-17 at the fairgrounds in Canby. That gives you about a month to get your competition entries ready.

There are more than three dozen open competitions to enter, focused on everything from breads, to confections, beer and wine, pickles and canned meats. All pay cash prizes for first, second and third place. Entries must be brought to the fairgrounds on Sunday, Aug. 11, judging takes place Monday, Aug. 12.

Men and boys should take special note of the Men's Chocolate Cake Competition, with payouts of $25 and a trophy for first place, $15 and a rosette for second, and $10 and a rosette for third place.

Then there are the daily competitions. Entries must be brought to the fairgrounds between 10 a.m. and noon on the specific day. Here is what is planned during the week:

¦ Tuesday, Aug. 13, competitions include Contain Your Cookie and Just Be Cows, It's Udderly Divine Cheesecake contests.

¦ Wednesday, Aug. 14, competitions include the Blue Ribbon Blueberry Blast and It's a Classic Old Fashioned Cake and Cakewalk contests.

¦ Thursday, Aug. 15, enter the Hazelnuts Let's Get Crackin' and the Peachy Keen Sweets contests.

¦ Friday, Aug. 16, the focus is on the Bob's Best Homebaked Bread Contest. Recipes must use Bob's Red Mill products, and be brought to the fair as fresh from the oven as possible. First prize for this contest is a $100 gift card to Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukie.

¦ Saturday, Aug. 17, is the Traeger-Smoker Cookoff. Contestants must preregister for this competition by Aug. 10. You may enter as a group (up to 4 people) or individual. Categories include dessert, savory or bread on your Traeger. Cooking is done on-site on a Traeger starting at noon and must be completed by 4 p.m. First prize in each category is $50, second place is $40. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m., followed by sampling.

¦ The Dutch Oven Cooking Contest also takes place on Saturday, and again you must preregister by Aug. 10 to compete. Enter as a group (up to 4 people) or individual and plan to cook dessert, savory or bread. First prize is $100 in each category and $50 for second (adults) and $50 for first and $25 for second (juniors).

If you haven't attended the Clackamas County Fair before, make this the year you do so. It includes a carnival and rodeo (both have separate admission charges), plus exhibits about aspects of living in the county you may not have considered.

And if you have your eye on an Oregon State Fair prize, enter those competitions now, too. Visit oregonstatefair.org for complete details. The state fair runs Aug. 23-Sept. 2 at the state fairgrounds in Salem. It's another summer tradition the whole family will enjoy.

To get you primed for competition, I pulled a recipe for the It's a Classic Old Fashioned Cake and Cakewalk contest. Entries in this competition must be family recipes or a recipe published before 1972. This Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is one from way back when. It is moist and tasty, and could be a contender.

You can't win if you don't enter. Good luck!

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

Barb Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-479-2374

or by email at [email protected] review.com. She is the author of

"Willamette Valley Wineries" a

pictorial history of the Willamette Valley wine industry. Follow her

on Twitter @barbrandallfood.


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