Spuds on display at Humboldt County fair draw all ages

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Humboldt County Fair attendees can find humorous and in some cases extreme creations in the annual potato decorating contest in the middle of the bunny barn -- a sight sure to bring a smile to your face.

Most potato entries come from child entrants, but rest assured there are plenty of adults who are kids at heart who sit down with their kids or independently and create a potato masterpiece. This year, there were 67 potatoes entered --18 more than the previous year.

There is one division of potato decorating and eight classes within that division that are defined by age group and number of potatoes decorated. You can enter a potato as part of a 4-H group, school, or even as an independent.

The potato competition is one of the most affordable divisions to enter at the Fair with its 50 cent entry fee. There are eight different classes to enter within the potato division. You can decorate one potato or a group of two or more. After you have decided the amount of potatoes you would like to decorate, it is then divided into age groups of 8 years old and under, 9 to 12 years old, 13 to 17 years old, and 18 years old and over.

Fortuna residents and siblings Jaiden and Braylon Johnson created their first potatoes this year. Jaiden received 1st place

"My favorite part was painting the potato to make it look like a real horse," she said. "It was hard to make the sorrel color for the horse."

Jaiden loves horses, and according to her mother Angela Johnson, her potato was inspired by one of her favorite horses named Heirloom.

"Braylon loves baseball and so he did a group of potatoes on a baseball field," Johnson said.

"I love the Giants and I like that my potatoes are Giants!" Braylon said.

Potatoes must be self-supporting for the entire fair. Group displays may be no larger than 12 square inches.

Susan Combes, superintendent of fair entries and exhibits, said she was pleased with the almost 20 entry increase over last year's entries.

"We had a lot of great entries," she said. "It is great to see the joy on so many children's faces as they see their winning ribbons."

There are ribbons given to all competitors and two cash awards. Best of Show, which includes all entries, received $5 cash from Blue Moon Gift Shop of Garberville and was won by Jacoby Coutant of Ferndale Elementary School with his Irish-themed potato. Sarah Bruce entered her unnamed potato as an Independent and brought home the $5 Ferndale Pizza Company cash award for the silliest entry.