Calling all home cooks and bakers: Get those recipes ready.

The Allentown Fair returns for its 168th year on Sept. 1 and run through Labor Day — and with that comes the annual culinary contests in the Agri-Plex.
From brand-new contests to long-standing favorites, there’s a culinary contest just for you at the fair.

The fair is a big draw for amateur cooks and bakers looking to show off recipes for a chance to win ribbons and bragging rights (and some contests offer a cash prize).

Deadline to enter the contests is Aug. 7 so quick, grab those recipes and enter.


No samples this year

After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Allentown Fair returns with in-person programming but there will still be a few restrictions in place.

A big one: No samples will be given out this year. If you’ve ever been over to the Agri-Plex during the fair, you know that’s a pretty popular attraction. Hopefully samples will be back next year.

Onto this year’s contests. You’ll some new, some old-favorites returning and annual contests this year, all looking for your very best recipes.



Sweet Girlz Bakery Holiday Cookie Contest: This contest is for those go-to, from-scratch holiday cookies of any kind, flavor and shape.

Mad J’s BBQ The Great Chili Bowl Contest: From tongue-tingling to mouth-searing, chili is the name of the game for this contest. Chili recipes can be meat or meatless, bean or beanless. It’s up to you and your creativity.

King Arthur Flour Great Layer Cake Contest: In this contest, you need to use King Arthur brand flour and create a homemade cake with layers. Flavors and decorations are only limited by your imagination.

The Pampered Chef Fruit Crisp-Cobblers Contest: Take those summer fruits and make it into an award-winning crisp or cobbler.


Back again

The Buttered Crumb Great American Shoo-Fly Pie Contest: Sho-fly pie is of course that Dutch classic made with a perfectly flaky crust, molasses and brown sugar. Teens 14 and up as well as adults can enter.


Annual favorites

PA Preferred Junior Baking Cookies, Brownies and Bars Contest: This annual contest encourages kids to bake and take part in agricultural fairs across the state. The contest is open to Pennsylvania residents ages 8 to 18 at the time of the contest. Those who enter cannot have won first place in a PA Preferred Junior Baking Contest at any other fair in 2021.

Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery’s The Supreme Cheesecake Contest: Every year Clover Hill sponsors a contest where whatever the dish is, you need to incorporate one of their wines. This year’s contest challenges you to make a cheesecake using wine in your recipe.

Bechdolts Orchard Fresh Peach Dessert Contest: Turn juicy summer peaches into an incredible dessert. Judges will be looking for creativity and your dessert must be at least 50% peaches.

Best “No Bake” Dessert Contest: No oven required for this contest, which seeks to find the best icebox desserts and other no-bake treats. (Sponsored by A&A Plumbing, LLC.)

Homemade Chocolate Cake Contest: This is a favorite contest at the fair. Two important rules: The cake cannot have won at any other fair in 2021 and it must be a layered cake from scratch. (Sponsored by Vynecrest Winery).

Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Contest: From classic double-crust pies to crumb-topped and more, creativity and flavor are the keys to this annual contest. Note: The pie’s filling doesn’t have to be completely apple but should be at least 60% apples. (Sponsored by pies; the pie must include at least 60% apples in the filling. Sponsored by Grim’s Orchard and Family Farms.)


More info

Best bet to get your forms to register is by visiting and clicking on “Contests.” Once your there, choose the contests you want to enter and click on the link to get the form and further rules and instructions.

Info: 610-433-7541 or

— Jennifer Sheehan/The Morning Call via Associated Press