The jumping contest wasn’t the only froggy attraction in Burton during the Great Geauga County Fair over Labor Day weekend. Young children put their courage to the test on the Frog Hopper as the ride leaped up and bounced its way back down. Returning for its 199th year following last year’s limited junior fair due to the coronavirus, the fair was abuzz with plenty of rides to choose from with Bates Bros Amusements.

The 18th edition of the frog jumping contest hopped through the Great Geauga County Fair on Monday in Burton with about 300 spectators looking on.

Children of all ages took time training frogs by catching them hours before the event and practicing different methods to encourage the newfound green friends to jump on command. During the contest, the frogs take three jumps before they get measured for a score, according to event coordinator Cheryl Carr.

Mrs. Carr, who has been coordinating the event for 18 years, said seeing the excitement of the children catch the frogs and take them to competition is a highlight.

The kids catch their own frog, she said, “so I don’t have to.”

The top three scores received cash prizes and a trophy to commemorate the win. This year was a “jump-off” for second place as Bryce Buhne of Chardon, along with Sir Hopsalot, finished first with a measurement of 121 inches. Kaylee Peck of Chardon, with Frogzilla, and Selina Sparker of Chardon, with Legs, competed in the second jumps as both had measurements of 101 inches, with Selina taking second place after Legs jumped 67 inches while Frogzilla jumped 44 inches.

Some children find the event fun to do as a group, including Landon Gallagher, 13, of Middlefield; Blake Strever, 13, of Middlefield; Jackson Strever, 9, of Middlefield; Deano Decario, 13, of Hiram; and Cannon Strever, 11, of Middlefield, who all grouped together to find frogs the night before.

“It’s just something that we can get to do every year,” Landon said referencing his start in the event. Landon has participated in the event for five years and said that he got the rest of his friends interested shortly after.

While the boys did not win in the competition this year, they said that it was a lot of fun to go through the process.

Landon’s father, Brian, 43, said that he loves to encourage his son and friends to enjoy the process.

“It’s just a lot of fun to see them interact, and a lot of laughs are had the night before,” Mr. Gallagher said.

The frog jumping contest was not included in last year’s festivities as the fair was shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Mrs. Carr wants people to know that the contest “isn’t going anywhere” as the Great Geauga County Fair moves forward to its bicentennial celebration next year.

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