Saturday, August 18, 2012
Unique Beard Blue-Ribbon Winner at Iowa State Fair
Creativity comes in many forms. Some people write books. Some people enter their best calf in the state fair, others bring super-sized tomatoes. Not Don Larkin. For three years running his creatively decorated beard has won the blue ribbon for most unique beard at the Iowa State Fair.
This year's beard was a triple-decker ice cream cone, which he says is Fairlicious. It's also patriotic -- note the red, white, and blue flag on the cone.
The beard decorations began in 2010, with a nod to the product the state is most famous for -- corn. Larkin deemed that year's remarkably realistic ear-of-corn beard as "Hick on a Stick." He and hair stylist Lori McNew of E-Clips salon in Newton, Iowa spent a lot of time designing his ear of corn, which was created with beads and bottomed off with a corn husk.
The state may be recognized for corn, but the Iowa State Fair is perhaps best known for its butter cow. Never one to dodge an opportunity for attention, since 2011 was the 100th anniversary of the butter cow, Larkin and McNew created "Butter Beard."
Larkin puts a lot of thought into his beard entries. "No one in my immediate family has ever won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, and I wanted to end that non-streak. I don't grow corn or make butter or ice cream, but I can sure can wear them."
The fair has always been a family event for the Larkins, with siblings coming from Michigan, Missouri, and Indiana to experience it again and son Joe taking photos. And what does Larkin do with those blue ribbons? He gives them to his mom.
Copyright 2012 by Elaine L. Orr. Don Larkin is her brother-in-law.