Tiny Town Celebrates Autumn With Adorable And Creative Hay Bale Trail

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

We don’t have to tell you what a popular season fall is. Then again, it’s always been a time of celebration.

In the old days, it was all about bringing in the harvest — the literal fruits of the spring and summer’s labor. It was also a time to celebrate your family, honor your ancestors, and prepare the hunkering down for the winter.

So it’s no surprise that across the country, towns big and small like to celebrate fall. In southwestern Kentucky’s Todd County, the towns of Elkton, Trenton, Guthrie, and Allensville all come together to celebrate fall in a truly unique and totally delightful way.

It’s called the Bale Trail.

Since Todd County is rural and most of the business is agriculture, it means that there’s a lot of hay around, come fall. As is customary on farms, the hay is gathered into bales, which can range in size — from small rectangles that can be picked up to massive cylindrical rolls.

During the days of the Bale Trail, hay bales get decorated and placed all over the county. And some get really creative — and really big.

The decorated bales are judged, and prizes are awarded for “Most Creative” and “Fan Favorite” (voted via Facebook.) While there are cash prizes, the real fun is getting creative and playing around with hay. Even bears love hay!

Check out some of the highlights of the Bale Trail below from this year and also years past. This year’s winners were announced October 1, but the creations stay up until Halloween.

[H/T: Only In Your State]

Todd County encompasses the towns of Elkton, Trenton, Guthrie, and Allensville in southwestern Kentucky.

Every year, the county gathers to celebrate fall with fairs and festivals. It also hosts the Bale Trail, where decorated hay bales dot the county. They can all be seen along a driving route, as can the natural beauty of the region.

And it’s easy to see that autumn really is a gorgeous time of year here.

Bale trail participants can use either bale or loose hay, so the result is all kinds of shapes, structures, and creations.

This piece, a take on Grant Wood’s iconic painting, American Gothic, celebrates the region’s farmers.

Others relied on accessories rather than paint for color and character. This snow family is covered in white sheets, and the snowman’s top hat looks like a painted metal barrel.

Others didn’t bother with color or much decoration at all, like these artfully crafted creatures.

Local businesses made their bales reflective of their services. This piggy bank, which won a “Fan Favorite” award, sat in front of Heritage Bank.

For the Bale Trail, it’s referred to as “Hay-ritage Bank.” Hay puns are also a big part of the Bale Trail.

And you can see that on this enormous “Toots-Hay Roll.”

Others liked to pay homage to their favorite characters, like this one created to look like Olaf from Frozen.

Or this Minion, a perennial favorite.

Other places got really creative and made hay characters, like this life-size couple outside a gift shop.

An elementary school took advantage of the round shape of the bales to create these emoj-hays.

This owl’s feathers were created using what looks like another harvest staple: corn husks.

Then again, a square bale has its advantages, too. You can create a pretty great Rubik’s cube by stacking a bunch together.

This giant fire hydrant combines a lot of techniques. It’s got the cylindrical bales for shape, sculpted hay for details, and accessories for the caps and chains. There’s even some “water” coming out!

Which is your favorite?

Let us know, and check out more about the Bale Trail on the Todd County website and Facebook page, and don’t forget to SHARE this creative fall celebration with your friends!