By Kathy L. Collins

ARTSHillsborough County Fair Art Show 2014 005The Hillsborough County Fair, which runs annually in late October and early November (this year from Thursday, October 23 to Sunday, October 26 and again from Thursday, October 30 to Sunday, November 2), is about more than just livestock exhibits, amusement rides and fair food. It is also about showcasing the fine arts, photography and crafts created by Hillsborough County residents.

Fine Arts

In a brand new, brightly lit building, the Eastern Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) presents the 2014 Fine Arts Show. This is a juried show for both professional and amateur artists. The judging places all artists on equal footing as there is just one Best of Show for adult competitors.

This year, an amateur, William Bearden of Seffner, was awarded Best of Show. Jenna Brink, a high school student from Brandon, won Best of Show for the Youth Division.

In Fine Arts, there are multiple categories for professional, amateur and youth including oil, acrylic, watercolor, mixed media and graphics.

For several years now, EHAG has been responsible for presenting this fabulous show. Mary Jane Wagner is this year’s chairperson. EHAG sponsors the Best of Show awards for adults. The judges were local artist and Strawberry Festival Chairperson Debra Bryant and Francis Kennard, a graduate of the Ringling School of Fine Arts and local artist.

Wagner said of this year’s entries, “The quality of the fine arts entries was fabulous.”

View the artwork any time during the Hillsborough County Fair and at


The Hillsborough County Fair also supports a Photography Show, which is open to all residents including students as young as first grade. This year’s chairperson is Brenda Anderson.

There were 70 photographs and seven mixed media pieces entered into this year’s show. Francis Kennard was this year’s judge. There were multiple Best of Show winners including Carrissa Retter who won for the Youth Division; Barbara A. Ivan was the winner for Adult; Suzanne S. Austin-Hill won for Mixed Media; and Melissa Surency won for Film. New this year was a Special Needs Category and Kathy Abdoney received Second Place.

Anderson, who is an avid amateur photographer, encourages anyone who takes photographs for a hobby to enter a piece in the show next year.

“I think this show is awesome, especially the Youth Division. When I saw the judge’s scores, I was amazed,” said Anderson.

When judging photographs, one is looking for elements such as neutral tones, equal balance of light and dark, and a pop of color.

View the winning photographs at

Arts and Crafts

Similar to Fine Arts and Photography, Arts and Crafts are given a great venue at the Hillsborough County Fair.

Mary Der is the chair of the Family Living Section of the Hillsborough County Fair. This year there were over 300 entries for the Arts and Crafts section.

All items must be handmade by a resident of Hillsborough County. There are 24 class divisions. The divisions vary from wood crafting to needlepoint to food preservation.

“We like to show the artistry and talent of the home artist,” said Der.

The judging is done by a variety of judges from the Arts Supervisor for Hillsborough County Public Schools to Susan and Jose Moreno for baking, to several employees from the Hillsborough County Extension Service.

Crafts such as quilts, knitting, sewing, woodworking, stained glass, ceramics and jewelry are on display. New this year is a technique known as Tatting.

For more information, visit and look under the Family Living section. The Hillsborough County Fair is located at 215 Sydney Washer Rd. in Dover.

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