by Jim Boyle
Three Sherburne County youth have given a special hand to the organizers of the 125th anniversary celebration of the Sherburne County Fair in Elk River.
Two of them will be among the people walking around the fairgrounds this week when the fair opens July 18 with commemorative lime green T-shirts that they helped design with their button contest entries.
The grand prize winner, Sarah Money, who was a senior at Becker High School while she drew in her winning entry on a springtime edition of the Star News, will be playing in a softball tournament in Kansas. Her design is featured on the buttons that will be given out to people who buy four-day passes to the fair for July 18-21.
This year’s fair will include truck and tractor pulls, demolition derbies and lawn mower races in the grandstand. The annual parade along Main Street, Mississippi Road and Orono Parkway in Elk River will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Button contest judges chose Money’s entry for its simplicity and sharpness with a silhouette of Sherburne County’s boundaries topped off with a bright sun and draped over an American flag.
The flag was a last-minute addition, Money admitted. “There was too much white space, so I put in the flag.”
Her mother encouraged her to enter, having just won a public service announcement contest put on by county law enforcement on the topic of texting and driving.
“My mom said I should buy a lottery ticket,” she said.
Button contest runners up were younger youth who went for detail found at the Sherburne County Fair, whether it’s thrill rides, tractors, donkey races, animals, french fries, carnival games or Ferris wheels.
Annica Carr, 13, the winner of the 5th through 8th grade division, even drew in the people.
It has been a few years since Carr has been to the fair, but when she thinks of it the food, games, rides, animals and tractors come to mind. A student at Salk Middle School in Elk River, she plans to go to the fair this year.
“I’m most excited for the rides,” she admitted.
Abbey Onuma, 10, of Nowthen, has never been to the Sherburne County Fair but won the button contest in the K-4th division. She had guidance from her teacher, Sue Davies at Parker Elementary School in Elk River. Once she had a idea of what it was all about, she said she let her imagination take over.
“I just wanted to make it fun,” she said, noting her button design is a spinning wheel one might find in the games section of a fair.
News of winning a $25 cash prize, a four-day pass and a one-of-a-kind T-shirt featuring her design was rather exciting.
Carr also won a $25 cash prize, a pass and a T-shirt with her design on it.
The rest of the T-shirts will feature Money’s design. She won a $50 cash prize, a T-shirt and prize. She will head to Jamestown College in North Dakota this fall where she will attend school and play fastpitch softball.
The contest was open to all Sherburne County youth through the schools that were invited to participate and through an advertisement in the Star News. It was broken into three age groups (K-4, 5-8 and 9-12).