The SP12 question is have you ever entered your work in a fair and would you ever?
I grew up in the heart of country fair country and was even briefly a 4H member. We went to several fairs every summer but somehow never managed to get anything entered into a fair as a youngster. I had some of my artwork displayed in the junior high art show, but I suspect that every student did.
I just remembered in writing this that as a grown up, I entered some photographs in a fair in Connecticut and won some ribbons. I think it's good to enter contests because it pushes you to do your very best. You'll pay closer attention and work a little harder if you know someone is going to be inspecting it, judging it. I generally put more effort into something that is for someone else.
One day I was in a store fretting over lining for a purse for an exchange. I asked a fellow shopper what she thought. Her first repsonse was, "it's for a gift, isn't it? I figured because you are being so particular about it." Then she pointed out thought was best.