How many ways can you stack a hay bale? If you grew up throwing small bales, the answer might be, on their side in a criss-cross pattern so the stack can ride high. Not so, with creative farmers across Iowa and the country. Hay bale decorating has evolved from a few square bales showcasing Jack-O-Lanterns at Halloween into a larger than life art form that draws tourist to fields across rural communities and gravel roads.
Tourism Lucas County, FFA, Farm Bureau are sponsoring the First Lucas County Hale Bale Decorating Contest. Registration forms are located at Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street and businesses within Lucas County. “This contest is open to anyone interested in being creative.” said Lyle Ansell. For those without their own supply of hay the committee will connect those interested with a hay supplier. The hay used for this event will be returned to the farmers as feed for their cattle, livestock and chickens. “Local farmers are not worried about availability of hay for this project,” Ansell stated. Ansell went on to say hay must be returned to the farmer in condition to feed to their livestock. Strings or hay nets need to be left intact and only non-oil based paints are approved. Hay suppliers will explain guidelines and details when they drop off their hay.
The deadline for registration is Aug.24. The display will begin Sept. 1 and run until Nov. 1. Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street will have maps available. Containers will be placed in area businesses so anyone touring the display may vote. Winners will be announced after Nov. 1. Shirley Fredrickson, Lyle Ansell, Clayton Smith and Chariton Nursing and Rehab are a few of those planning to participate.
Please read the Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 Chariton Leader edition for the rest of the story.