Fair exhibits a way of life for Beran

Story, photos by Fritz Busch

Kari Beran of New Ulm has been entering the open class at county fairs since she was an eight year old 4-H club member, and hasn’t missed a year since.

“County and state fairs are a fun time of year,” Beran explained. “I enjoy entering the open class, the camaraderie and seeing what everyone else is doing, seeing old friends and making new ones.”

She still enters open classes and works as a 4-H judge at the state fair for food and nutrition, health & safety and food preservation entries.

“I always enjoyed making things, but plants are my thing,” Beran said. “We had a big vegetable garden on our (rural Fairfax) farm which led to my preserving vegetables including many varieties of pickles, cucumbers and tomatoes.”

Her open class fair entries over more than 30 years have included flowers, canning vegetables, crafts, woodworking and food nutrition exhibits.

Beran makes her own ketchup. “It’s a lot of work, cooking and thickening it,” Beran added. Her end products include salsa, spaghetti and apple sauce and jams from cherries and apples she grows. Many plants adorn the inside and outside of her home.

Anyone of any age who wishes to exhibit at the Brown County Free Fair may enter the Open Class division, which is separate from the 4-H division. Entry categories include gardening, art, sewing, needlework, photography, quilting, wood working, baking, preserving foods, cake decorating and other hobbies including making salsa, wine, jam, cookies, cakes, pies or candy.

Art categories include needle crafts, drawing, painting, beading, scrap booking, or making sculptures including those of wood or metal.

Other classes include fruits, vegetables, corn, grain and soybeans.

Exhibitors don’t have to be Brown County residents. There is no charge to enter an exhibit.

Entries are accepted Monday through Wednesday the first week of the Brown County Free Fair set for Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 6-10. A premium book is available at any Brown County bank or grocery store or at www.browncountyfreefair.com/information/open-class/

All non-livestock entries will be judged Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Exhibits will be displayed in the New Ulm Civic Center during the fair before being picked up from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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