- Associated Press - Sunday, August 27, 2017

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Grand Island businesses have transformed simple hay bales into mini monuments to Nebraska.

The annual Nebraska State Fair hay bale contest has drawn 30 entries, each of which has its own twist on the theme “Celebrate the State: 150,” to honor Nebraska’s 150th birthday.

Businesses had a deadline of July 21 to enter the contest. Most of the hay bales appeared earlier this week, with a select few that will only be on display during and at the State Fair.

The Independent reports that hay bales have been transformed into multi-tiered birthday cakes, horse-drawn wagons and farm animals, as well as a variety of other items.

Awards Plus, which is located on Capital Avenue, turned its hay bale into the state seal and added different things that represented Nebraska. Next to the bale is a sign in the shape of Nebraska with “Celebrate Our Great State, 150 years!” printed on it. Also on the sign are the meadowlark (Nebraska’s state bird) and a football player. A race horse, balloons and a sign indicating some of the State Fair concerts are also included in the display.

Anita Cobb, who is a graphic artist at Awards Plus, designed the display. She said with the design, she and the team of people who worked on the hay bale wanted to think a little outside the box of the theme.

“There’s so much that Nebraska has to offer,” Cobb said. “We have a beautiful state.

“We just put our heads together and thought about what we could do to represent the state,” she said.

Michelle Mariani, director of sales and marketing at Awards Plus, said the last time the business entered a hay bale in the contest was in 2013. After acquiring another business and moving to a new location in the time since then, they caught their breath and were able to create one this year.

“We like to be involved in the community,” Mariani said.

She said things like participating in the hay bale contest are fun and family-friendly ways to be involved. She said she’s glad to see many businesses participating and connecting with each other.

Mariani said whether Awards Plus’ hay bale wins the contest or not, their goal was to have fun participating.


Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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