Contests for the creative

A cowboy and a cowgirl are resting in piles of straw, leaning on a tree in front of Presidents Hall, dreaming about mushrooms. On the other side of the building, Bob is dreaming about riding a horse in the rodeo. And Mister Dragon will tower over visitors to the Kitsap County Fair by the Goat Barn.

They are just some of the scarecrows that will scare — or greet — visitors at the Fairgrounds this week.

The scarecrow contest is new — only in its second year — and entries have halved from the dozen scarecrows that perched on the fairgrounds last year.

“We’re hoping by the third year it will catch on,” said Donna Alber, of the WSU Master Gardeners, who is serving as superintendent for the scarecrow contest and the Open Horticulture class.

Last year’s dozen scarecrows all took blue ribbons.

“They were really hard to judge,” Alber said. “And I imagine it will be the same this year, from what I’ve seen.”

Visitors who find a favorite among the traditional, whimsical, mystical, scary or fair theme scarecrows, can cast their vote in Presidents Hall at the Master Gardeners corner for a people’s choice award.

The creative figures were set up by their makers this weekend. But Alber was more frightened by the looming deadline than by Mister Dragon’s big white cone-shaped teeth.

Monday morning she was preparing to receive the horticulture entries from noon to 8 p.m. and had her sister park a trailer nearby so she’d spend the night on fairgrounds, after a night-time judging of the entries.

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