BY LINDSAY MCCOY

Times Bulletin News Writer

lmccoy@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - The 157th Van Wert County Fair is fast approaching on Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sep. 2, 2013. The 2013 fair book is now available at the Van Wert Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and at the fair board office. This book contains all fair information as well as entry from which are due Saturday, Aug. 10. For a list of scheduled events, visit the fair's website at http://www.vanwertcountyfair.com/schedule.html.
Many people may not realize they can in-fact submit fair entries without being a member of 4-H or any other club. In actuality, almost anyone can enter into the different categories to be showcased at the Van Wert County Fair. One such category is the fine arts department which is housed in the Administration Building at the fairgrounds.

The Administration Building is a commonly visited one thanks to its air-conditioned facilities and its escape from warm fair weather. This building not only houses all fine arts entries but also baking, flowers, quilting, and antique entries. The Fair Board is hopefully to see fine art's categories continue to increase at this year's show.

"We really want to encourage everyone to take advantage of this show and display their unique art pieces and photography," said fair board member, Gary Showalter. "Both young and old can enter these categories for a chance to win a blue ribbon and cash prizes."

To participate in the fine arts show, entrants, ages 18 years or older, must simply purchase an individual membership ticket. This year's ticket prices have remained the same at $18. These tickets can be purchased at the Van Wert County Fair Board Office and must be presented when entering exhibits. Entries are not confined to Van Wert County, and residents of other areas may also come to compete. A Jr. show also allows the younger generation to exhibit their work at their local fair.

Each exhibitor may enter up to 10 art pieces with no more than five pieces in any one category. Entries must be the original work of the exhibitor. No copies may be entered, and only photos taken by the exhibitor themselves may be used for reference.

The fine arts show includes painting and a variety of other art divisions including acrylic painting, oil painting, watercolor, drawing (includes charcoal, scratch-board, colored pencil, graphite, or similar dry mediums), ink (includes brush and ink, pen and ink, and ink wash), pastels (includes pastels and oil pastels), and mixed media (includes any combination of media, including collage).

Those wishing to enter must fill out entry forms and register them at the Van Wert County Fair Board Office prior to the fair entry close on Aug. 10, 2013. Art entries must then be brought to the Administration Building to be hung on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 1-5 p.m. in order to be ready for fair-start. All items will remain on exhibit until Tuesday, Sep. 3, and may be picked up on this day after 8 a.m.

Judging of fine art exhibits will be Sunday, Aug. 25, at 5:30 p.m. Special awards for these categories will be presented by the Van Wert County Foundation from the Wassenburg Art Fund and will include $15 for first place, $10 for second place, and $5 for third place.

The 2012 fair, the photography show saw an increase from the decreased numbers seen in 2011. Showalter is hopeful to see these numbers continue to rise for the 2013 show.

In the photography division, exhibitors are allowed only one entry in any one class, and photos cannot be altered in any way to be entered in another class. Photos must be framed in a sturdy wood or metal frame with the entry tag tied to a wire on the back of the frame attached with screw eyes. No plastic frames are permitted, and the frame must be closed on all four sides with no slide-in frames allowed. Frames up to 8"x10" in size may be used, and panoramic frames cannot exceed 5"x12". Framed photos must be covered by glass or Plexiglas.

This year's photo categories include Around the Fair, On the Farm, Transportation, Weather, and Architecture, and each exhibitor may enter each of these categories in color as well as black and white. The senior division will receive the following premiums: $7 for first place, $5 for second place, and $3 for third place. A rosette and $10 will also be presented by the Wassenberg Camera Club for the overall best color photo and overall best black and white photo.

There is also a junior division for youth, 18 years of age and younger. Junior entries must conform to the senior division rules, and exhibitors under 9 years of age must enter with a parent's membership ticket. Winners of the junior division will also win a money premium and rosettes and $10 from the Wassenburg Camera Club for best-of-show photos.

Photographs must be brought in for display by Aug. 25 between 1-5 p.m., and photography judging will begin Monday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.

Money premiums of winners may be picked up at the Treasurer's Office located at the east end of the Grandstand. A photo ID will be required to collect premiums.

A person does not need to be a professional artist or photographer to enter. Anyone at any skill level is welcome to showcase their work at the Van Wert County Fair and compete for a prize. Previous entries have included a new baby elephant at the zoo, children making funny faces, interesting pets, purple sunsets, and the list continues. A little imagination can capture the attention of the judge and lead entrants to a blue ribbon in this competition.