As Joe Fiehn held up the scarecrow he made completely of recycled materials, the resemblance to the Tin Man from the classic film Wizard of Oz is uncanny.
The 11-year-old member of the Pitt River Lamb, Swine, and Beef 4-H Club, recently re-watched the 1939 movie and was simply inspired by the character.
As part of Country Fest this year, 4-H club members were asked to make unique scarecrows, reusing old materials or recycled goods, to be used as audience members for the upcoming weekend concert on the Albion Fairgrounds.
Initially the concert was closed to in-person viewing, hence the need for audience members. But it has since been opened up to concertgoers after COVID-19 restrictions were recently eased.
The scarecrows, about 50 in total, were judged on originality and overall appearance, and prizes were awarded on each day from Monday to Wednesday, to all of the participants.
The Pitt River 4-H club had eight scarecrows in the competition. Mitchell Laity, 16, created his scarecrow, that he called ‘Bob’, from plant pots and burlap, as did Sadie Urquhart. Erin Donkersloot created ‘Lily’ – made out of old laundry baskets, fake flowers, and bed sheets. And Rachael Fiehn, 13, made a Canadian scarecrow out of boxes and cups from Tim Horton’s waste.
This is all part of the experience at the local agricultural fair.
“The 4-H program is a youth development program and the animals are the medium. And so, it’s not just about showing the animals, it’s about having fun and camaraderie with other 4-H clubs and members and that’s what we try to do,” explained Lorraine Bates, executive director of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest.
Before the scarecrow pageant, Bates’ team held a hot dog roast for the 4-H members.
Then each scarecrow was paraded along a runway in the dairy/beef ring, where a story, written by each contestant about their scarecrows, was read out to the judges.
Prizes, from first to sixth place, were handed out on each of the three days. First place was $100, second was $70, third was $60, fourth prize was $50, fifth prize was $40, and sixth prize was $30. All other participants received $20 for their efforts.
After the scarecrow contest Bates held a scavenger hunt for the 4-H participants, where they had to find various items around the fairgrounds to win stuffed sheep.
One of the items the emcee asked the children to find was a handful of water, knowing that the children were running and probably would not have any water in their hands by the time they made it back.
However, Bates said, one little boy had quickly thought out his process.
“He ran away. He went over to the water tap, filled his mouth with water, ran back with his mouth full of water and spit it into his hands,” laughed Bates.
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