They Had a Tablescape Competition at the Fair

“Fahrenheit 451 Lunch” by Suzanne Goyette

Score: 94.

“A sizzling presentation… coffee spoon on saucer is appreciated.”


If you’re not familiar with the art of tablescaping, then you’re not familiar with our future First Lady of The New World Order, Sandra Lee. She hosts the best television show — no, seriously, I will fight anyone on this fact — Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee, and dates New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. She made this insane cake once, her eyelids go half-mast every time she sips one of her signature cocktails (usually made with five parts Hpnotiq or vanilla “vaka”, two parts something else), and she closes each episode with a “tablescape.” It is not a real word! It’s not even a proper portmanteau, if you ask me. Table and landscape? That would involve foliage and a water feature; hers are themed, but typically made up of a table cloth, napkin rings, chargers, place cards and their holders, flowers, and a giant centerpiece or five. All just table stuff, but so over-the-top and expensive that no one watching at home would ever make their own, or so I thought…

Utter disbelief was followed by an urgency to pee when I stumbled upon a tablescape competition at the Los Angeles County Fair yesterday. There were no tablescapers around — judging must’ve happened this past weekend when the fair opened — but everything was still on display along with scorecards. Here are my faves, with scores out of a possible 100 and select notes from the judges. It was hard to find the proper names for all of them, so a few titles in quotes are best guesses.

“My Fair Lady” by Brandi Thomas

Score: 80

“Dessert fork is too large and facing the wrong way.”

“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Brittany Olivieri

Score: 85 [Ed. — Robbed!]

“Rope legs are a great touch… Tea spoon should be on saucer and the tablecloth should be rectangular, not oval.”

“Candy Land” by Cathy Goyette [Ed. — a second Goyette in the house!]

Score: 75

“Who could eat the meal with all of this candy present.”

“Game of Thrones” by Patty Cass

Score: 90

“Serve ware carries the theme well.”

“Motocross Race Viewing Party” by Christel Schoenfelder

Score: 90

“For symmetry, a knife or spoon on the right side would be appropriate.”

“Gone With The Wind” by Bonnie Overman

Score: 100

“Makes you want to read the book again.”


And then, outside, the Axe Women Loggers of Maine were doing this.