NEW CONTESTS ADDED TO DRAW MORE COMPETITION, AUDIENCES

By POLLY SMITH
County Fair Writer

The volunteers at the Huntingdon County Fair have spun, built and pulled some new ideas from their collective thinking to provide opportunities for even more people to enter exhibits at the 2013 agricultural/amusement exposition.
New contests this year are draft horse pulling, Lego building, homespun yarn and scarecrows.

Draft horse pulling

Fans of draft horse pulling contests, who have seen such events in Bedford County, will want to see the teams of heavyweights pull at the Huntingdon fair’s horse ring, starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8. The contest is limited to 10 teams. Event chairperson Kurt Eysenbach said there is no weigh in – “it’s open to all weights.” He anticipates the competitors will bring horses weighing at least 3,300 pounds, maybe up to 4,500 pounds. “We limited it to 10 teams to make it manageable in the first year,” Eysenbach said. He expects to see competitors from Somerset and Bedford counties. The sport of horse pulling began with farmers competing with their draft horses to see whose team was best. There are pulling events in Bedford County and, over the years, a similar event has been suggested for the Huntingdon County Fair. Teams will pull a sled loaded with weights. A full pull is 27.5 feet. More weight is added until a full pull cannot be reached. There are usually three people involved to hook up the teams. “When the horses are hitched to the sled, they are anxious to do their job,” Eysenbach said. The audience can expect a two and one-half hour show which will go “rain or shine … ring conditions can make a lot of difference.” Bleachers will be in place for seating. The top premium for a draft pulling team is $175 and there are $25 prizes for the best teamster and best appearing team.

Lego contest

Say the word “Lego” and colorful, plastic building blocks come to mind. The “toy” is no longer just for little kids. Teens work with the more advanced sets to “engineer” complicated projects, such as bridges, skyscrapers, space travel machines and robots. “Lego robotics is going full steam in the state and I would love to get volunteers to get it rolling here,” said Christine Corl, Penn State Cooperative Extension leader in the county’s 4-H program. Corl said some 4-H kids showed some interest in Lego building last year, but there were no specific projects, “so we are trying a contest this year in the open youth division.” The classes in the division are grades kindergarten through fifth grade, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Contestants are asked to start with a base of 18 inches square and build his or her creation (no copying designs from other sources). There are four prizes in each class, starting at $10. Projects will be displayed in Johnson Hall. Other youth contests are public speaking and demonstrations for ages 8 to 18 and shoebox floats and straw bale decorating, both for grades kindergarten through 12th.

Scarecrow contest

The Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz took a journey with Dorothy to find the man who would give him a brain. A stuffing of straw was under his floppy hat and inside his flannel shirt and denim jeans. These garden creations have nearly become a thing of the past, found more often among fall decorations than scaring birds in the vegetable patch. A competition is added to the major contest department this year to give youth ages 5-12 and 13-18, adults and groups, clubs or organizations an opportunity to create a 5-ft. to 7-ft. scarecrow for three prizes in each class, starting at $12. Rich and Sue Grove are the superintendents of this new contest to be displayed in Neary Hall.


Homespun yarn

Once a necessary part of everyday living, spinning wool into yarn and then using it to make clothing or decorative items is fast becoming a popular hobby in Central Pennsylvania. The new homespun yarn section of the arts, photos and crafts department will be displayed in Neary Hall. According to Stephanie McGargle, who is active with the new Fiber Arts group associated with the Huntingdon County Arts Council, there are “a lot of spinners” in Huntingdon and Centre counties. Stacy Shuck of Grove’s in Huntingdon has been teaching classes in uses of homespun yarn and has been building her store’s inventory of supplies as the demand has increased. One entry per person in each class is permitted and there are 10 classes, with five for 100 percent wool and five for a minimum of 50 percent wool. An 11th class features a basket of dyed yarn used for a project and a 12th is for Huntingdon County residents only. First prize in each class is $10. A best of show and judge’s choice will be selected.


Talent Show

Adults, teens, amateur youth and little children are encouraged to enter the Talent Show at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the Midway Stage. Registration will be accepted until 5 p.m. the day of the show. Earlier registrations will perform first. Classes for the four-minute performances include instrumental; singing; dancing, twirling and acrobatics; comedy, humor, lip sync, magic and others and group performances. Prizes range from $100 to $25. Dan and Galla of the Dan & Galla Musical Show will host this fun evening of local talent and entertainment and Ilona Ballriech of the Huntingdon County Arts Council is the chairperson. Entry forms are available on the website at www.huntingdoncountyfair.comor at the fairgrounds office.