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Not too late to create for Burnet County fair

Burnet County Area Fair

Award-winning entries in General Sewing, one of 19 competitive divisions in the Burnet County Area Fair, which is June 17-18 in the Burnet County AgriLife Auditorium, 607 N. Vandeveer St. in Burnet. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

If you make it, you can enter it in the Burnet County Area Fair on Friday-Saturday, June 17-18, according to Roxanne Dunegan, president of the county fair board. All you have to do is bring your creation to registration in the Burnet County AgriLife Auditorium, 607 N. Vandeveer St. in Burnet, on the Wednesday or Thursday before the event. 

While several projects, such as growing plants or sewing a quilt, require long-term commitments, baking a pie, decorating a cake, or even building a Lego sculpture can be done last minute. Actually, anything you have made in the past year is eligible, and if there’s no specific category for it, you can enter it in “Other,” Dunegan said. 

“We have 19 different divisions, and I know there’s something you can enter in,” Dunegan said. “We have quite a few kids who do the baked goods. That’s something kids, or anyone, can enter because you make it just a few days before the fair.”

Baked goods include cakes, cupcakes, cakeballs, cookies, candies, pies, cobblers, and breads. You can even decorate a cookie jar. Rules for each category can be found at

The annual crafting and baking competitions are a family affair for Dunegan. Her mother, Edna Niebanck, 95, competes in the quilting and sewing divisions, which include dresses, shirts, vests, ties, tailored suits, purses, skirts, and capes — 26 categories in all. (Aprons has its own division with 16 different categories.) Dunegan’s adult daughter, Isabella Cummings, has also participated. 

“I’ve always been a county fair girl,” said Dunegan, even though she grew up in suburban New Jersey. 

As a member of her local 4-H Club, Dunegan learned to sew and craft. She became involved with the Burnet County fair in 2010, when it made a comeback after a 20-year hiatus. 

The fair shut down in 1990 due to a lack of volunteers. It was brought back to life by the joint efforts of the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association, the Burnet County AgriLife Extension Service, and the Texas Extension Education Association of Burnet County. Also helping with organization are the Highland Lakes Quilt Guild and the Bluebonnet Button Club. 

Anyone living in Burnet, Bell, Blanco, Lampasas, Llano, San Saba, Travis, and Williamson counties can enter by bringing their creations to early registration from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, or 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 16. Quilt registration is from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. that Wednesday. 

Judging begins on June 16. Some categories include creations that best capture this year’s theme of “Red, White, and Blue, This Fair is for You.” 

The fair opens to the public at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 17, and 8 a.m. Saturday, June 18, when the 42 Tournament begins.

This year’s fair also has a motorcycle show, live music, an ice cream crank-off, presentations, and cooking demonstrations. Visitors can shop the country store and food and craft vendors as well as bid on silent auction items.

Presentations will be held throughout the day June 17. The cooking demonstration is set for 4 p.m. 

Dunegan urges anyone interested to get off the fence and join in the friendly competition. 

“I have a lot of friends who are in the fair, and we love to compete with each other,” Dunegan said. “We always love to rib each other about who got the most ribbons and things.”

One of those friends, Kerry McDonald, is known for her quilting but also tries something new each year. 

“This year, I tried jams, which I haven’t done in years,” McDonald said. “You don’t have to be doing something for years or feel like you’re an expert at it to enter the fair. Pick something and give it a try.”

She also enjoys the camaraderie among fair participants. 

“The fair, for adults, is a way for people to appreciate what you do,” McDonald said. “It makes you feel appreciated. That’s something, as an adult, we like to feel.”

The Burnet County Area Fair is also a one-stop shop for people looking to learn about any of the crafts, skills, or activities featured. Many of the exhibitors as well as fair volunteers love to share their knowledge.

“If you have a question about something, whether it’s woodworking, gardening, or something else, there’s a person at the fair who can answer it,” Dunegan said.

Burnet County Area Fair schedule

Friday, June 17

  • 9:30 a.m. — opening ceremonies
  • 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. — open to the public
  • 11 a.m.-4 p.m. — presentations begin
  • 2 p.m. — ice cream crank-off
  • 4-5 p.m. — cooking demonstrations
  • 5:30-7 p.m. — awards presentations

Saturday, June 18

  • 8 a.m.-2 p.m. — 42 tournament
  • 8 a.m.-3 p.m. — open to the public
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. — motorcycle show
  • noon-2:30 p.m. — live music

For more information on the Burnet County Area Fair, visit or email Dunegan at