GREENVILLE — There are a few new faces for everyone to meet at the 163rd Great Darke County Fair. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and every single one has a friendly smile thanks to the creativity of their owners.
Those faces belong to a dozen scarecrows gracing the Class G Grains and Seeds division in the basement of the coliseum.
“It’s been in the works for a while,” said Melissa Brawley, secretary, on the new competition that adds a bit of variety and unique experiences to the fair. All thanks to the inspiration that struck while visiting another county fair where scarecrows greeted visitors at the front gate.
Brawley explained how it was Fair Board Director and Department of Agriculture Superintendent Russ Bennett and his wife, visiting other fairs, who noted the scarecrow competition. It was also Bennett who built the wooden post for each scarecrow; the buckets donated. The contestants were then tasked with decorating their scarecrow as they chose but within the scope of newly established rules, of course.
“They can’t use perishable material for the face,” said Brawley such as a pumpkin for a head and the masks must be homemade not purchased. The scarecrows can range in height from three feet to no more than six feet and must be family-friendly.
The new additions to the division were to be judged on creativity, neatness, and overall appeal with Bill Schwieterman, Louann Jess, and Jim Fulton the guest judges last Thursday.
Brawley was expecting at least one more adult entry to the current six adult entries and six youth entries that afternoon before judging got underway. Each entry had a unique theme from a scarecrow on a swing holding a basket of notable fair-related goodies to a Wizard of Oz reminiscent Tin Man.
There were even two OSU-themed scarecrows, youth entries, who had no idea Ohio State was the theme for the division this year.
“Everybody is so creative and different,” said Brawley.
Besides being unique and new to the Great Darke County Fair, the scarecrows provided a little something extra special for the competitors, too.
Brawley pointed out one scarecrow with a pumpkin theme.
“This summer has been [bad] for her, but [this] gave her something to look forward to,” said Brawley. She explained how the individual tinkered with her creation throughout the summer, visiting garage sales and Goodwill stores to piece it together once she settled on a theme.
For several others, it was the first time they had ever entered a Fair exhibit.
“A lot of people have commented, they really like the idea,” said Brawley on the new competition. She has a few ideas for next year. Some of those ideas include fencing to create a larger, dedicated space, to having exhibitors decorate the scarecrows on location as part of the competition.
The 163rd Great Darke County Fair runs through Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019.
Keep watch for a full list of winners in a future Daily Advocate/Early Bird special Fair edition.