By Kathy Collins

The 2015 Hillsborough County Fair is an annual fall event which is eagerly awaited each year. The fair is a fun event to enjoy with family and friends, but it is about more than just livestock exhibits, fun amusement rides and fare food. It is opportunity for talented residents of Hillsborough County to showcase their fine arts, photography and crafts.

Fine Arts

Artists who create fine arts have a unique opportunity to showcase their artwork during the two weekends that the fair is open. The show features multiple categories for professional, amateur and youth including oil, acrylic, watercolor, mixed media and graphics.

This year, the Fine Arts Show was judged by Debra Bryant, a local artist. Best of Show for the Adult Division went to Robert Krowl, an amateur artist from Sun City Center. Krowl entered a watercolor piece. The Best of Show winner for the Youth Division is Morgan Nolan, a seventh grade student from Plant City. Nolan entered a mixed media piece.

Mary Jane Wagner has been the Chair of the Fine Arts Competition for four years. Wagner said, “This year we had 82 entries from very talented Hillsborough County residents. Our Adult Best of Show winner has never entered previously, so it is impressive that he won.” Wagner added, “We would really like to encourage all residents of Hillsborough County, but especially children, to enter the show next year. It is a great venue to showcase your work.”


The Hillsborough County Fair also features a Photography and Photography/Mixed Media Competition. This is an open show and anyone in Hillsborough County, including elementary age students, are encouraged to enter. The Chairperson for Photography is Brenda Anderson who is in her second year.

This year there were over 100 entries from adults and children in film (black and white and color), mixed media and digital (black and white and color). Two professional photographers, Lauren Sapp and AJ Sauers, judged the show.

The Best of Show winners were D’Lynn Ryan for Digital Color Adult; Jadon Biagiotti for Digital Color Youth; Jaycee Garcia for Black and White; and Elaina Holt for Mixed Media.

Anderson said, “This show is fantastic. We had a wide range of subject matter this year. The elementary students in particular were phenomenal. It is like they all got a year older and all got better.”

Family Living (Arts and Crafts)

Like Fine Arts and Photography, Arts and Crafts are celebrated at the Hillsborough County Fair under the title Family Living. The number of created items that are submitted is simply astounding. There are approximately 23 classes or categories for adults and three for children. The classes are as varied as the residents of Hillsborough County. If you can bake, sew, knit, do woodwork or any other form of crafting, you can enter this show.
Mary Derr has been the Chair of Family Living for five years. Derr said, “The entries in this year’s Family Living show just how diverse and creative the residents of Hillsborough County are. The fair is an opportunity for creative and talented residents to show their handiwork.”

New this year to Family Living is art for elementary students. “We keep fine tuning the fair to make it a special event each year,” said Derr.

The judging for the Family Living section of the fair is an arduous process that takes skilled experts in each class or category. This year there are 18 Best of Show winners. For the two classes that get the most entries, crochet and knitting, the Best of Show winners are Chris Mendler of Seffner (crochet) and Stephanie Walters of Tampa (knitting).

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