Take it from Antioch residents Mike and Naomi Redding, who have been exhibitors at the fair for more than 10 years: it’s an adventure worth experiencing.
“My mother-in-law Debbie encouraged me to enter a quilt I had made for Mike,” said Naomi. “It was so neat to see it on display among the ‘real quilts,’ and that was the part that got me hooked. Today, I still love the excitement of seeing my exhibits on display – and I especially like winning.”
At this year’s fair, Mike and Naomi plan to enter 24 exhibits. The number of exhibits and the categories they enter vary from year to year, but Mike always enters the barbecue contest on Saturday of the fair and Naomi enjoys the Backyard Farmer category. Both like to enter items they’ve grown in their garden, and they especially like entering the special contests.
Which leads to the question: do Mike and Naomi ever compete against each other? “Yes, we do compete against each other on some things,” said Mike. “But for the most part, we work together to achieve a common goal – first place.”
At last year’s fair, Mike and Naomi competed in a caramel apple contest in which they enjoyed a fun time making the apples together. But according to Mike, there was one small problem: Naomi “conveniently” forgot to tell him that it was a “decorated” caramel apple contest.
“Even while we were making them, I was wondering why hers was decorated and mine looked so old-fashioned and simple. I thought for sure that my perfect caramel dipped apple, stuck to an old butter wrapper, was a shoe-in for a ribbon. Needless to say, I didn’t even place, and Naomi took second place.”
While entering exhibits is definitely a fair favorite of the Redding family, both are true Contra Costa County Fair fans. Mike, who was born and raised in Antioch, said his parents took him to the fair when he was a child, and attending the fair has become a family tradition.
“My Dad and I have been competing in the cook-off for years,” said Mike. “It really doesn’t matter who wins; we go with the concept of having a great day, and we always do. I’ve always enjoyed the fair, as it gives me a common place to meet and enjoy a little family time. Basically, I enjoy the fair for all things – for fun, for tradition, for the food, and most of all for the fun memories.”
“I have found that the fair is a lot like life – you get out what you put into it,” said Naomi. “Even if your entry doesn’t win, it’s still fun to participate in the fair and to visit with family and friends.”
Come on out to the Contra Costa County Fair and see what Mike and Naomi have created this year, as well as to see the thousands of exhibits created by our talented community.
The 2012 Contra Costa County Fair is held June 1 through June 3. For information, visit www.contracostafair.com or call the fair office at 925-757-4400.