With the fair board thinking outside the box and a change in facility layout everyone was excited to make the trip to the 2017 Kentucky State Fair. As always the Kentucky Beef Council was on site with lots of events happening every day. We showcased local producers at the commodity breakfast and on the gourmet garden cooking stage, revamped our education space at the “big red barn”, and added a little competition with our Backyard Burger Contest and Cooks vs. Cons.
State Fair is a time to showcase our great commodities and the people who produce them. With Kentucky’s booming local product market the Kentucky Beef Council decided to highlight some of those farmers during morning media coverage of the commodity breakfast. This year we were able to highlight KY Darling Meats, Sherwood Acres Beef, Harrison County High School FFA Chapter, and Kentucky Hemp Dawgs. Each producer was able to highlight their products and talk with television stations. We also gave other local producers the chance to talk about their operations and products on our Gourmet Garden cooking stage. These were very popular segments, giving the public a chance to interact with farmers and ask questions.
We partnered with the Kentucky Soybean Board again this year in our “big red barn” education space. This year we added an antique John Deere Model A (special thanks to Mr. Bill Robertson), a corner dedicated to the sustainable practices being implemented by the soybean and beef industries, and the back of the barn was a collage of Kentucky’s great farming families. We value our relationship with the Kentucky Soybean Board, we are able to answer the tough questions about antibiotics and GMO’s to ensure the public that those popular myths are not true. Virtual reality was the center of our exhibit this year, with revamped videos that make it easier for visitors to understand exactly what it is they are seeing.
On the gourmet garden stage we increased the number of cooking demonstrations, showcased the new Cooks vs. Cons contest, as well as hosted the second Backyard Burger contest. Beef demonstrations on the stage have always incorporated basic beef knowledge such as proper cooking temperatures and cuts of beef, but this year we took it a step further highlighting beef as a breakfast food, quick and simple recipes to make beef the life of any party. Cooks vs. Cons pairs a trained chef with someone who simply enjoys cooking, to face off in preparing dishes based on mystery ingredients and beef cut. Judges were chosen from the audience, to pick a winning dish as well as decide who is the cook and who is the con. The second Backyard Burger contest had over 30 burger entries competing for a blue ribbon and the right to be crowned the 2017 Kentucky State Fair Burger. During the contest judging, we hosted cooking demonstrations while keeping the crowd on their toes with beef trivia.
The 2017 Kentucky State Fair proved that changes and new ideas are a great thing! We were able to reach more consumers and producers through our changes, and promote beef in an even bigger way. We are already in the works for the 2018 Kentucky State Fair!