Corbin H. Crable
Last year, it was cows. Now, sheep are taking center stage at the 2010 Johnson County Fair, Aug. 2-7 in Gardner.
This year’s theme is “Wild ‘N’ Wooly,” and, like last year, the Fair Board has encouraged area merchants to design and decorate wooden sheep to display at their businesses and at the fair itself.
Fair Board President Matt Meek said the board’s theme committee is instrumental in deciding the theme for the fair each year.
“We have a group of individuals who volunteer and make up the theme committee,” Meek explained. “Before last year, the fair parade would have a theme, and our open class department would have a theme and 4-H would have a theme. And they were great, but they were never the same.”
Meek said he thinks one common theme for the entire fair gives consistency to the event and makes for a better chance to participate in the fun.
“So this year we made our ‘Wild ‘N’ Wooly’ theme,” Meek said. “From there, the committee comes up with the design.”
Next, it was up to area businesses to give their sheep a personal touch. Most of this year’s entries take advantage of sheep-related puns, too – such as Great Southern Bank’s sheep, named “Cash-Ewe,” according to Ann Jensen, president of the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce.
Jensen was one of the organizers of a theme-related scavenger hunt for last year’s fair. She said she is planning another scavenger hunt for this year as well, in which participants will go to area businesses and get clues on where they can find the sheep around town.
“It will be similar to last year in the collection of clues and submitting it to the chamber,” Jensen said.
Those who find the sheep must notify the chamber of commerce, and their names will then be put in a drawing for prizes donated by local businesses, she added. Jensen said fairgoers also can visit the fair’s website and vote on their favorite sheep. Judges also will be roaming the fairgrounds and checking out the sheep for themselves.
“There will be a contest for civic organizations and businesses to enter their sheep to be judged,” Meek said, “and those sheep will be on display at the fair.”
Meek said participation in the contest and scavenger hunt not only encourage creativity and friendly competition, but it also serves another purpose.
“It’s a way to advertise the fair beforehand,” he said, “and at the fair, it’s a way for them to advertise their business.”
Even those not affiliated with a business can get in on the fun surrounding the theme. Meek said theme-related events for all to enjoy will include a wool spinning demonstration; “Dancing with Ewe,” a series of lessons in country line dancing; and even “mutton” bingo.
For more information on the upcoming Johnson County Fair or for more information on this year’s ‘Wild ‘N’ Wooly’ theme, visit the fair’s website at www.jocokansasfair.com.
More information on the fair, including events specific to area 4-H groups, can be found in The Gardner News’ annual Fair Edition, which hits newsstands on Wed., July 28.