There are numerous reasons people attend the San Mateo County Fair. For some, it’s all about the rides. Then there are those who want to see the pig races. Others seem to enjoy eating fair favorites such as funnel cakes.
At the top of Stacy Cooper Dent’s list for reasons to attend this year’s San Mateo County Fair is to see if she will be awarded blue ribbons for her preserved foods entries.
Cooper Dent, a resident of San Carlos, will join the more than 100,000 visitors expected to attend the 77th San Mateo County Fair during its 9-day run, which started Saturday.
An interest in home canning is one reason Cooper Dent entered her pickles in the sweet varieties pickle category. Another is to see if others feel the same way about her pickles as her children.
“My three-year-old twins love pickles, and that’s what prompted this,” Cooper Dent said.
To prepare her pickles for competition, Cooper Dent relied on a recipe she’s used for several years. This year, however, she tweaked it slightly to improve its flavor profile.
In preparing to enter the pickles in San Mateo County Fair’s sweet varieties pickle category, Cooper Dent said she adjusted the recipe more than a dozen times until she felt her pickles were the best they could be.
“I tried to find slight variations on classic recipes,” Cooper Dent said.
Cooper Dent has also entered a barbecue sauce into competition at the fair.
Cooper Dent said her entry in the fair’s barbecue sauce category started out as a friendly competition between her and her husband. Cooper Dent’s husband makes all his own barbecue sauces and she said she felt she could top his.
“That was a new recipe and had a lot of secret ingredients,” said Cooper Dent.
Although her husband hasn’t entered his own barbecue sauce in the fair’s competition, Cooper Dent figures that a blue ribbon for her sauce, a Texas style sauce, will give her some bragging rights nonetheless.
While this is the first time Cooper Dent has entered any of her canned foods in competition, she said she’s been canning food for several years.
Cooper Dent said she likes being able to can fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy them year round. Cooper Dent feels canning is a connection to a simpler time.
“I think canning is so cool,” Cooper Dent said.
In addition to the culinary arts exhibits, other attractions fair goers can expect this year are free concerts, an Alcatraz display, animals, a hypnotist, carnival rides, and a rainforest exhibit.
The musical acts slated to play at the San Mateo County Fair this year include Air Supply, The Four Tops, War, Grand Funk Railroad, and Pablo Cruise.
The San Mateo County Fair takes place at the San Mateo Expo Center, 2495 Delaware St., San Mateo. The fair is June 11-19.
Daily admission is $10 for adults, $8 for ages 6-12 and 62 and over. A seasonal pass is $22 for adults, $20 for ages 6-12 and 62 and over. Parking is $10.