Henry Hudson, Arlington's commonwealth's attorney, could have won the blue ribbon for enterprise at this year's county fair. He brought a computer.
Another Republican was handing out golf tees with his name on them. One candidate offered a coloring book, a Democrat was giving away toy sheriff's badges and a political independent passed out Indian headdresses.
But Hudson's computer, which enables fairgoers to play a game called "Put Jimmy Crook Away," was one of the most innovative of the many ploys Arlington politicians are using to win votes during the weekend event.
"This gives them a little bit of an idea about prosecutorial discretion," Hudson said as more and more people showed up at his booth to play his game about how a prosecutor's case can be foiled in the courts.
Even Hudson's Democratic opponent in the fall election, Brendan Feeley, was attracted to the exhibit.
Since the fair, which ends tonight at the Thomas Jefferson Intermediate School and Community Center off Arlington Boulevard, draws about 60,000 county residents, it has become a must event for the politicians.
"You'll see more people at the county fair who vote in Arlington than you will in the rest of the campaign," said County Board Member Walter L. Frankland Jr., a Republican who is seeking his third term this fall.
"A lot of people will talk about things here that they wouldn't when you go door to door," said Frankland, as he went around the fair in a straw hat, handing out golf tees.
Frankland and most of the other Republicans were operating out of the party's booth, where they offered anyone interested in their views a videotape presentation of the platform. The GOP booth stood directly across a cavernous hall from a Democratic booth, which had more candidates, but no electronics.
Frankland's running mate for the County Board, Michael E. Brunner, had a separate booth, something Brunner said he needed to promote name identification.
Democrats Al Eisenberg and Richard Buffum, also seeking seats on the County Board, chose to operate from a van outside, hawking T-shirts that carried their names and a plea for votes.
Democratic Sheriff James Gondles strolled the grounds, pinning tiny, gold-colored deputy sheriff's badges on every toddler in sight.
Gondles' opponent, John Baber, was not to be outdone. He boasted he was giving out the biggest balloons of all the candidates.
State Del. James Almand, a Democrat, did not make the mistake he made at a previous fair when he agreed to participate in the Arlington Jaycees' dunk tank.
Although his opponent that year continually missed the mark that would have plunged the legislator into water, others repeatedly hit the bull's-eye.
This year Almand was taking no chances; he was handing out emery boards with his name imprinted on them and campaign buttons.
Independent Bonnie Newlon, who is challenging Democratic State Del. Mary A. Marshall, is the only candidate with two booths.
Inside one were position papers, buttons, bumper stickers and a coloring book saying "Superman Supports a Super candidate."
Newlon's other booth was a moneymaker, where volunteers were serving iced tea, lemonade and cookies, and dashing off every two hours to a store that had reserved 1,500 pounds of ice for them.