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Nebraska State Fair opens tree decorating contest to all Nebraskans
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Nebraska State Fair opens tree decorating contest to all Nebraskans

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Getting ready for next month's Nebraska State Fair, Clean Community System Director Denise McGovern Gallagher (right) and Keep America Beautiful coordinator Katie Vlach decorate the Clean Community System tree Tuesday afternoon as nonprofit organizations started yarn bombing trees along State Fair Boulevard, which is the main entrance to the fairgrounds in Grand Island. So far, 37 organizations have signed up with hopes of 50 participating before the state fair opens. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

Nebraska State Fair is inviting the entire state to a participate in its Tree Graffiti Contest this year.

State residents are asked to follow the lead of nearly 40 central Nebraska nonprofits in the inaugural event in 2020 and “graffiti a tree” across the state.

Trees being decorated at a home, business, church or school need the permission of the owner. The contest, complete with prizes, is open to all Nebraskans.

“We’ve had such success with our nonprofit and statewide contest last year, we are trying it again for 2021,” said Laura Hurley, director of State Fair sponsorships. “This contest replaces the hay bale contest, which was suspended after the 2018 fair, and actually allows more people, businesses and organizations to participate, no matter where in the state they are located.”

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The artistic term is “yarn bombing,” which the fair has renamed “tree graffiti.” The art medium involves temporarily applying crafty decorations to a tree. Each participant has until Aug. 31 to decorate their tree of choice and submit photos of their work of art. The theme for this year is “Nothing More Nebraskan.”

“These graffiti (bombing) installations have been done around the world at events and festivals, but we believe we are the very first State Fair to do it as a statewide contest. There are rules involved for the protection of all your trees, and as long as the installations are in good taste and follow the fair theme, they are eligible to enter the contest,” said Hurley.

Guidelines on how to “graffiti a tree” and how to enter the contest can be found on the fair’s website — Search under “contests.”

Additional questions may be directed to:

There is no entry fee to participate, but photos must be received before midnight Aug. 31 via mail or email. The benefits are to provide beauty, fun and community engagement across the state.

This is in conjunction with the Nebraska State Fair, which is scheduled Aug. 27 to Sept. 6 in Grand Island. But the trees will be judged and prizes awarded by Sept. 30. Winners will be notified by email and posted to the fair’s Facebook page and website.

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