Schuylkill County Fair to Hold Second Annual Boilo Contest

The Schuylkill County Fair will hold its second annual boilo contest (Champagne of the Coal Crackers) on Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 PM in the PA Preferred Culinary Area of the fairgrounds.
This contest was very successful last year and it is the hope of not only the judges who had a good time judging the boilo, but also the Fair’s hope that more Coal Crackers will participate in this year’s competition. There are two categories for boilo entries: regular and apple pie. The competition is open to all adults age 21 and over from the Coal Region of PA. Contestants may bring their sealed bottles to be judged as early as 6:30 to reserve an area to display their product. All entries must be submitted by 7:00 PM.

Schuylkill County Fair is “Harvesting the Fun” at this year’s fair. A major component of boilo is apple cider. Where better can you harvest the goodness of Schuylkill County than from locally produced apple cider? The fun comes after the cider is turned into boilo. Boilo has all the makings and is the perfect recipe for “Harvesting the Fun.”

Boilo is the champagne of the Coal Region. Fittingly, the contest is being held on Schuylkill County Day of the fair which is sponsored by our County Commissioners. Everyone loves a good, old-fashioned contest- especially here in Schuylkill County. Food contests often center on local and regional traditions. In Texas it is all about chili, but in the mountains of PA, boilo reigns supreme. Boilo isn’t merely a drink, but a legendary health tonic and a time-honored tradition. Many people claim that the drink has healthful benefits and is a holistic elixir, which accounts for its popularity during the deep freeze of winter. It is said that the aromatic nectar warms the innards on a bitter cold night and hastens the exit of colds and flu.

So what is boilo you ask? Boilo is a homemade concoction made from a recipe handed down from grandpa. Everyone has a different recipe just as everybody has a different grandpa. Characteristically, boilo is a beverage that includes standard ingredients such as citrus fruits, herbs and spices, honey and ginger ale. The traditional base ingredient in boilo is moonshine. Many modern recipes have replaced home-brew moonshine with blended whiskey, rye or grain alcohol and are made on a stove top or in a slow cooker.

Interested yet? Contestants must bring their beverage in a plain, sealed jar or bottle. An entry form must accompany the boilo along with an entry fee of $2.00 per jar. Entry forms may be obtained on the Fair website at The boilo will be judged according to its relative merits within the categories. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place accordingly. The Fair reserves the right to remove an exhibit/exhibitor from the competition and are not responsible for the beverage.

Look up the family boilo recipe and make a batch of your “Champagne of the Coal Region” for the Schuylkill County Fair Boilo Contest! For more information about this contest or other happenings at the fair, visit the fair’s website at like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter.
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