By SARA ARTHURS
Tim Bowles had come to Findlay for one specific purpose: to see if Hancock County’s eggs were all they were cracked up to be.
Eggs were a new category hatched by the Hancock County Fairboard this year, with each entry consisting of three eggs. A separate decorated eggs category allowed egg artists to show off their skills.
Bowles judged the nondecorated eggs on the quality, shape, color and “shell texture,” as well as whether the trio of eggs had a uniform appearance. He looked to see if the eggs were porous, or if they had any dirt spots, mud stains, or anything else that might make them “unappealing to the eye.”
Bowles said he couldn’t “confirm freshness” since he wasn’t breaking the eggs. At some other fairs he’s judged, people are asked to bring an extra egg and break it.
Bowles, from Lucasville, has judged eggs from California to Maine, and in Canada.
Local participants could submit eggs from chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys or other birds.
“We have all different types here,” Bowles said Wednesday. This included the Ameraucanas, a type of chicken that lays green eggs.
Among the egg-cellent decorated eggs featured in the contest were six eggs painted purple and arranged like the petals of a flower, with a stem and leaf included in the work of art. Another consisted of eight eggs painted in alternating yellow and black, like a caterpillar, complete with face, antennae and legs.
In the decorated category, Bowles looked for “something interesting” that might make him laugh. The winning entry, therefore, centers around a depiction of a fried egg on a plate, complete with spatula nearby. A group of five eggs is clustered around it, decorated with frowny faces and teary eyes.
The judge said it’s the sort of thing that might make you “stop and giggle” — in this case, because the eggs are sad that “one of their buddies has been fried.”
Bowles said he basically grew up in barns like this, and enjoys traveling to county fairs because of “the quality of people that you meet.”
He’s a licensed judge with the American Poultry Association and judges birds themselves, as well as their eggs.
“I’ve had birds ever since I was 7 years old,” he said.
So, which came first?
“Both,” he replied.