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Kansas State Fair special contests shine a light on food and agricultureKansas State Fair special contests shine a light on food and agriculture

Take note of these special competitions while you’re at the 2023 Kansas State Fair, which runs Sept. 8-17.

Jennifer M. Latzke

August 4, 2023

4 Min Read
pastry with first-place ribbon from Kansas State Fair
FAIR COMPETITION: The Kansas State Fair is the state’s largest food and agriculture classroom. Be sure to check out exhibits, and take time to participate in on-site contests as well. Jennifer M. Latzke

There is a lot to see during the 10 days of the Kansas State Fair every year. From 4-H and FFA exhibits to the butter sculpture in the Pride of Kansas Building, the fair is the state’s largest food and agriculture classroom.

And while it’s neat to take a photo by the state’s largest pumpkin, or cheer on your favorite in the pig races, there are some on-site contests that allow for same-day entries from the public as space allows.


In the Pride of Kansas Building, home to the state’s agricultural and horticultural exhibits, there’s plenty of fun to be had along with visiting Kansas Agriland and taking a picture with this year’s butter sculpture.

  • Butter Sculpture Contest. This contest is set for Sept. 9 at the Pride of Kansas Building, with check-in starting at 11:30 a.m., and competitions starting at 1 p.m. There are two divisions: Youth, ages 17 and younger; and Adults, ages 18 and older. Entry fee is $1, and while pre-entry is recommended to guarantee space, on-site registration is allowed if space is available. Each competitor is provided a 1-pound block of butter, sponsored by Kansas Dairy, along with disposable gloves and plastic cutlery to create a butter sculpture matching the theme of this year’s fair, “A Day on the Farm.”

  • Best-Tasting Tomato Contest. Also located in the Pride of Kansas Agriculture Department, this contest is set for Sept. 10, with check-in beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the judging to start at 11 a.m. Entry fee is $1, and space is limited. There are Adult and Youth divisions, and the contest is sponsored by Kent and Becky McKinnis.

  • Corn Husking Contest. Set for Sept. 16, check-in begins at 12:30 p.m., and the contest starts at 1 p.m. at the Pride of Kansas Agriculture Department. For an entry fee of $1, youth and adults can compete to see how many ears of corn they can shuck in the time allotted. Kansas Corn sponsors the contest. 

Check out more rules and information in the Agriculture 2023 Handbook online at bit.ly/KSF2023aghandbook.


The Domestic Arts Building is one of the most popular stops for fairgoers looking to take in a little education (along with some air conditioning) at the fair. You might be able to catch a foods presentation at the demonstration kitchen.

Consider entering one of these special contests with same-day entries at the Domestic Arts Building this year.

  1. It’s All About Bread. This contest, Sept. 8, is sponsored by the Kansas Wheat Commission and has three classes: Sourdough bread, Holiday bread, and Whole Wheat Quick Bread. Check-in begins a 9 a.m., with the contest judging at 1 p.m. Recipes must be included and the entry fee is $1.

  2. Homemade Ice Cream & Topping Contest. This contest, Sept. 8, is sponsored by Kansas Dairy, with check-in starting at 1:30 p.m. and judging at 3 p.m. Enter at least 1 quart of ice cream or 1 pint of topping made from scratch. Recipes must be included and the entry fee is $1.

  3. Cheesecake. This contest is also sponsored by Kansas Dairy and will be Sept. 16, with check-in at 9 a.m. and judging at 11 a.m. Entry fee is $1. There are two classes, Traditional or Plain, and Variation.

  4. Biscuit Bake-Off. This live competition will see six adult competitors bake their best biscuit recipes at the Domestic Arts Building on Sept. 10, with check-in at 11:30 a.m. and judging starting at 1:30 p.m. Pre-entry is encouraged due to limited kitchen space. Stafford Flour Mills will supply the Hudson Cream Self-Rising Flour, with contestants bringing the rest of their supplies and ingredients from home.

  5. Invent a Heart-Healthy Food. Entries will be received starting at 9 a.m., Sept. 12, with judging at noon. This contest, sponsored by the Kansas Soybean Commission, asks contestants to showcase the use of soy products in one of three classes: Desserts, Main Dishes, or Snacks. Be sure to catch the Cooking with Soybean Demonstration at 11:30 a.m. the same day.

Check out more contests, along with rules and information in the Foods 2023 Handbook online at bit.ly/ksf2023foodshandbook.

Remember, according to the Kansas State Fair rule book, unless it’s otherwise noted in the division rules, all exhibitors are required to submit entries by Aug. 1, along with a $1 processing fee per person and a $1 per item entry fee. Entries can still be submitted until Aug. 23, accompanied by a late fee, per exhibitor. Learn more at bit.ly/KSF2023competitiveagexhibit.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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