While it may not host contests featuring SPAM or watermelon pickles like Minnesota or erect a lifesize butter sculpture of a dairy cow -- bulgy veins and all -- like Iowa, the Colorado State Fair has a good handle on the food scene, with a respectable number of cooking competitions as part of its week-and-a-half of festivities starting next month in Pueblo.
Judging from last year's numbers, the most popular competition, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the homebrew category. According to fair planners, the beer competition received 331 entries in 2009. This is followed, in order of popularity, by cookies, quick breads and cakes with 308, 231 and 230 total entries last year.
This year's beer lineup boasts 28 different categories of homebrew, including competitions for sour beer, smoke-flavored beer, three different types of mead and others.
By the way, for all you aspiring microwave chefs out there, there's even a category for you.
Most entry deadlines for the food contests are August 6 but check the fair's website for more details. (Entry deadline for the green chili competition, for example, is September 2, and for salsa, September 3.)
The fair starts August 27 and continues through September 6.