Routt County Fair’s home arts entries a feast for the eyes |

Routt County Fair’s home arts entries a feast for the eyes

Check-in day brings in Lego masterpieces, gigantic zucchini

Parker Ashley, of Yampa, shows off his lion painting Wednesday during the check-in day at the Routt County Fair. Entries ranging from Lego masterpieces to large zucchini were streaming into the fairgrounds' Exhibit Hall all afternoon.

— Linda Long knows that on check-in day, anything can come through the doors of the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.

"We even got a coffin one year," the longtime South Routt County resident said.

More common are the photographs, crafts and baked goods entered each year into the annual Routt County Fair’s home arts contest.

"It’s so much fun. In Routt County, we’re really blessed to have so much talent," Long said.

Sculptures, Lego masterpieces and gigantic zucchinis were some of the earliest items carried through the doors of the Exhibit Hall in Hayden on Wednesday afternoon. A panel of judges will spend hours evaluating the items starting Thursday morning.

Larry Guss’ metal turtle was in the hall only 10 minutes before it started creating chatter.

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"Ranchers give me all of their junk, and I make junk from the junk," Guss said as he explained how the base of his turtle was made from an old car radiator and how the shell was supported by rebar. A pair of old bolts made the reptile’s eyes.

Colin Wagner’s wood turnings were born from trees as far away as Africa and Yukon, Alaska.

And Joyce Rowley’s sculpture was made possible by a piece of aspen bark she convinced her husband not to toss into a wood stove.

"I’m always on the lookout for art," she said as she assembled the sculpture. "Rarely do I use things the way they are meant to be used."

A couple of exhibits away, 10-year-old Carter Reistad carefully placed his Lego cruise ship in a clear display case directly across from a Lego Millennium Falcon and TIE Fighter.

The Steamboat boy wasn’t sure his creation would be judged better than the Star Wars models, but he stood by the creativity of his vessel.

"It has a dining hall, vehicle storage and a landing pad for a helicopter," he said. "I think it’s very creative. It took me a long time to build it."

Many in the Exhibit Hall acknowledged Routt County’s long history of displaying and judging a diverse set of items at the fair. Organizers said the ribbons help keep the contestants coming back each year.

Long said the fair received about 1,367 entries last year, and she hopes for more this year.

With nearly seven hours left to accept entries, assistant artwork superintendent Rita Herold already was admiring some of the early entries.

"It’s absolutely fun because everything is unique," Herold said as she admired a pair of bookends adorned with painted tree roots. "It could be absolutely anything that people turn into art, and it’s absolutely beautiful."

The Routt County Fair kicks into high gear Thursday. For a detailed Routt County Fair schedule, click here.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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