- Author: Tami Reece
- Editor: Noni Todd
Horticulture at the Paso Robles Mid State Fair
By Tami Reece
In July, if you are a gardener in San Luis Obispo County, you look forward to fresh picked corn, juicy ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and the Paso Robles Mid State Fair. The fair started in 1945 and for more than 66 years San Luis Obispo County gardeners have proudly showed their gardening skills to their family, friends and the community at large. Entries will include locally grown produce and can only be current season crops. Did you know that the produce divisions are divided into two shows, allowing the exhibits to remain fresh throughout the fair? There will be an assortment of citrus fruits, stone fruits, apples, herbs, nuts, vine crops and every vegetable that will be in season during the summer months. If you are an especially talented gardener, you can enter a Harvest Basket which includes only produce, herbs, and fruit grown by you.
Floriculture is also a popular exhibit at the fair. With many beautiful flowers being exhibited, Dahlias are always a show stopper. Joe and Jill Sabol have been growing Dahlias for over 12 years and receive numerous awards each year at the fair. Joe has stated the Dahlia shows have significantly improved over the years, mainly due to the two outstanding judges, Kevin Larkin and Karen Zydner, who travel from south of Santa Cruz each year to judge at the fair. After judging the exhibits, the two judges will return in the afternoon to help the exhibitors grow better flowers by covering many aspects of propagation and cultivation of prize winning Dahlias. The San Luis Obispo Dahlia community is very appreciative of these two judges.
If you have traveled throughout the state, you will also realize the Paso Robles Mid State Fair has one of the most beautiful fair grounds in California, offering spectacular flower beds, a wonderfully landscaped rock mountain with waterfall and even a small vineyard. As you wonder through the many exhibits at the fair don’t miss the prize winning horticulture and floriculture exhibits!
The photo below was taken by Master Gardener Joe Sabol of exhibit judge Kevin Larkin with exhibitor Betty Cook.