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all those ribbons...

what do they mean?

Quality Ribbons


Every youth exhibit (Y1 & Y2) receives either a GOLD or SILVER award based on the quality of the entry and not in comparison with the other entries.  Gold Award indicates excellence and the Silver Award indicates good, but needs some improvement.

*There is no monetary award given for Quality Ribbons.

Place Ribbons

Place Ribbons

First, second, and third place ribbons are chosen by the judges for every class in each age group.  The winners of these ribbons are also rewarded with a cash prize. 

*Place Ribbons are the only ribbons that receive a monetary award.


The Grand Champion & Reserve Champion ribbons are awarded to the best and second best of each age group in each division. Usually, these will be given to a first place winner. The total maximum quantity of Division Champion and Reserve Champion is three per each division.

*There is no additional monetary award given for Grand & Reserve Champion Award Ribbons.

Award Ribbons
Best in Show


Best in Show is the best of all the division across all the age groups. It is chosen from the Grand Champion winners in that division.Only ONE Best in Show is awarded for each division. Age is not a consideration. 

*There is no additional monetary award given for Best in Show Ribbons.

Special Awards


Throughout the fair, Exhibit Watchers and the general public are given these ribbons to place on exhibits they choose as their favorites. Fair judges are not involved with this decision.

People's Choice Award

Director's Award

The Fair Director may award a special ribbon to an item that the judges may or may not selected as a winner such as the Best in Show, Champion or Reserve Champion, but that he/she likes and that has public appeal.  Fair judges are not involved with this decision, only the Fair Director.

Darlene Brightwell Memorial Award

Darlene Brightwell was a long-time coordinator of the Blue Ribbon exhibits.  This award is given in memory of Darlene and celebrates her dedication and hard work which helped make the Salem Fair Blue Ribbon Exhibits such a great event.  The Open (adult) recipient of this award is the overall winner across the most classes.

Carolyn R. Bass Award

Carolyn Bass is the original founder of the Salem Fair Blue Ribbon Exhibits and a long time local 4-H agent.  This award is given each year in honor of her dedication to the youth of this community.  The Y1 or Y2 recipient of this award is the overall winner of the most classes.

*There is no monetary award given for Special Award Ribbons.

Photos provided by Nathan Firebaugh Photography.  


Nathan competed in the Salem Fair Blue Ribbon photography competition when he first started out and has a blue ribbon of his own.  

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