State Fair to feature wide variety of fun food contests

This year the Oregon State Fair, which runs from Aug. 27 through Labor Day, Sept. 6 at the State Fairgrounds in Salem, provides ways for fair-goers to get into the food action through exciting competitions that can be entered directly at the state level.

From salsa to chocolate cake, the Oregon State Fair wants fairgoers to show off their culinary talents.

A taste of the 2010 competitions:

Oregon State Fair Coffee Competition: Saturday, Aug. 28, 11:30 a.m.

Calling all coffee enthusiasts! This new competition will determine who has Oregon’s top bean and features the judging finals on Saturday, Aug. 28th. The best roast will be selected by the panel of caffeinated judges and samples will be available to attending public.

Bridgetown Coffee “Best Donut” Contest: Sunday, Aug. 29, 11:30 a.m.

In this new contest, contestants can submit their best baked or deep fried donuts to be judged on texture, aroma, flavor and how the donut complements a fine cup of coffee. The top three donuts will receive a Bridgetown Coffee Co. gift pack.

Oregon’s Fresh & Hot Salsa Contest: Sunday, Aug. 29, 3 p.m.

In this hot competition, contestants enter their favorite family salsa recipe in one of three categories: traditional, pico de gillo or hot salsa. Salsas must be made with all fresh ingredients and will be judged on taste appeal, originality and appearance.

17th Annual Hermiston Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest: Monday, Aug. 30, 5 p.m

Four categories of spitters €“ children, youth, women, and men €“ will compete to see who can spit their seeds the farthest. Last year’s winner, Benjamin Jacob of New York City, set a record with his 10-foot, 7-inch spit! Winners receive a commemorative baseball cap, and the first 50 entrants receive a Hermiston watermelon. Contest hosted by Hermiston Watermelon Growers.

Bob’s Red Mill $1,200 Bread Making Contest: Tuesday, Aug. 31, 11:30 a.m.

A battle of the bakers, contestants are called to submit their finest freshly-baked made-from-scratch bread, including one or more of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods’ flours, meals, or cereals. $1,200 in total cash prizes. Contest hosted by Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods.

Third Annual “Finest Blackberry Pie in Oregon” Contes: Tuesday, Aug. 31, 4 p.m

Who has the best berry?! Oregon residents are invited to submit their best pie recipe that includes fresh, frozen, or canned Oregon blackberries, boysenberries, marionberries or raspberries. Winners receive berry gift baskets. Drawings and raffles held throughout the contest. Contest hosted by the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission.

Dairy Farmers of Oregon Ice Cream Churn-a-ment, Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, 11 a.m.

The excitement is churning for this new, delicious contest! Five lucky families with four or more members will get the chance to make ice cream using old-fashioned churns, competing to see whose ice cream freezes the fastest. Contest hosted by the Dairy Farmer’s of Oregon.

Old-Fashioned Corn Shucking Contest Saturday, Sept. 4, 4 p.m

Aw shucks- it’s the annual corn shucking contest! Three categories of shuckers €“ youth, women, and men €“ will compete to see who can shuck the most corn before the music stops. Finalists will compete in the Grand Champion Shuck-Off! Winner receives Orville Redenbacher corn popper and local popping corn and all contestants get to keep the corn they shuck. Contest hosted by Flav-R-Pac.

51st Gerry Frank Chocolate Layer Cake Contest: Sunday, Sept. 5, 2 p.m

I n 1959, Gerry Frank helped former Oregon senator Mark Hatfield in his successful bid to become that state’s governor. To show his appreciation, Governor Hatfield appointed Frank, a self-confessed chocoholic, judge of the chocolate cake competition at the Oregon State Fair. Frank has held the post ever since, sampling as many as 130 chocolate cakes each year. Whose cake will Gerry judge to be best this year?

New for 2010: Free admission to the Oregon State Fair will be given to contestants who enter Bob’s Red Mill $1200 Home Baked Bread Contest, 3rd Annual “Finest Blackberry Pie in Oregon” Contest and the Gerry Frank Chocolate Layer Cake Contest. Entrants in all other daily baking/cooking contests will receive a ticket for one free return admission.

A complete listing of all 2010 competitions is available at Individual contest details and rules are available at