If you have passed by the Extension Office on CR 136 in Live Oak during the past month, you may have noticed some colorful decor on the side of the road. These hay bale creations were created by nine of our community clubs and one of our creative staff members. In its 9th year, the annual hay bale decorating contest brings a lot of joy to Suwannee County. As soon as the hay bales are delivered, there are community members asking when they are going to be up and finished so that they can come by to take pictures.
The 4-H Clubs were notified at the beginning of the 4-H year that the contest would be taking place in late October and early November. From there, the clubs got quickly to work on planning their hay bale creations. Graciously donated by Larry Sessions of Barbed Wire Farm, the hay bales were decorated in about two weeks by 4-H members. Then in early November, three judges were tasked with ranking each hay bale based on visual impact, craftsmanship, originality/creativity, completeness, and youth adult partnership. Full rubric can be found here.
Based on their rankings, 1st place would receive $100, 2nd place would receive $75, and 3rd place would receive $50. All this money going towards their club accounts to assist them in educational programming. As an additional incentive this year, pictures of the hay bales were placed on Facebook for the community to judge. Bringing in over 1,000 likes, the community was definitely excited to have their voices heard on their favorites. Based on the community vote, gift cards donated by our local Lowe’s and hometown W.B. Howland’s would be given to the first and second place hay bales. The top three entries will be given a chance to enter the Florida State Fair Hay Bale Decorating Contest to represent Suwannee County 4-H.
Coincidentally, the judges’ and community opinions lined up exactly and the following three hay bales prevailed in both contests:
- 1st Place – Branford 4-H Club
- 2nd Place – Suwannee Young Riders 4-H Club
- 3rd Place – McAlpin 4-H Club
Click here to see the photos.
Check out the this Facebook album for the rest of the entries.
Congratulations to this year’s winners and thanks to all those that participated. Thanks also to Larry Sessions, Lowe’s, and W.B. Howland’s for their contributions this year. Check back next year to see more hay bale creativity from Suwannee County 4-H!