Fair exhibits strong, concert attendance a bit low

Kaiely Yedinak, 9, of Wenatchee keeps hold of her horse, Prince, before the Horse Fitting and Showing event Friday at the North Central Washington District Fair. (Karen Larsen photo)


| By Karen Larsen |

Aug. 22-25 proved to be mild days for the North Central Washington District Fair in Waterville. It was not very hot and the wind did not pick up as in some years.

Most exhibits saw entries at or above average. The floral exhibit was one exception with numbers down, probably due to garden damage in the storm that occurred in the area Aug. 10-11. Terry Connors, the superintendent of the floral exhibit, said that the exhibit was down 115 entries from last year. She said that the entries that did make it were really good ones.

Sally McDowell, superintendent of baking, said that her exhibit had more youth entries this year, which made her happy. Janelle Bourton of horticulture said that she always enjoys the new varieties of vegetables that are exhibited each year. At the other end of the barn in the food preservation exhibit, Marla Madsen and June Craig missed Gert Snyder’s faithful entries.

Art and crafts exhibits were up. Betsy Graves, crafts superintendent, said that there were lots of people who came to view the exhibit throughout the fair days. Many children came more than once to see the crafts they had entered and to view other entries. Florence McCay, art superintendent, said that she had so many entries that it was difficult to find enough wall space. McCay was especially impressed with young exhibitors. “We just like the excitement. They’re so proud,” McCay said.

Steve Kaminoff, photography superintendent, said that entries were down a little from last year, but that the quality was very good. “We’re getting a lot more photographs and fewer snapshots,” Kaminoff said. This year there was a new category in photography: computer generated images. Kaminoff said that he is expecting this category to grow in future years.

Terri Matthews, who was helping Jill Thompsen in handicrafts, said that entry numbers were similar to last year, but that there was a different mix of items and that fine workmanship could be seen in the projects.

At the petting zoo, named Barnyard Buddies and Country Extras, there was the normal flow of animal loving children and adults. A pair of Shetland sheep provided a new and somewhat unusual attraction. “People really enjoyed those,” said Debra Schneider, who helps organize the barn each year. Every animal that was raffled off found a home and the raffle was able to cover expenses so there will be money available to buy new baby animals next year. “The people who got something were very pleased,” Schneider said.

As usual, lots of 4-H, FFA, and independent animal owners entered horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs, rabbits and chickens in the fair and took part in the various shows held throughout the days of the fair. The livestock auction was “fantastic” according to fair Manager Bob Brown. He said that about 180 animals were auctioned but he does not have numbers as to how much money the children earned.

Brown said that he feels all the entertainers did a good job, but the audience was down from what he would like. He said that one entertainer that was particularly popular was Chainsaw Jack, who carved logs on the lawn Saturday and Sunday mornings. People seemed to enjoy watching him work and the fair was left with a carved bench, a bear, a moose and a wolf. It is not decided yet what will be done with these, though some could be auctioned off at the Crab Feed.

Brown said that he was concerned by the low numbers at the Love and Theft concert Friday night. He said that it costs $30,000-$50,000 to bring in a well-known act. “Unless you fill every bleacher seat that is out there, it is pretty tough to make money,” Brown said. “If you’re not making money it starts to come to the point of should you still have a concert?”

Brown said that he felt that Cascade Amusements, the new carnival company, did a very good job. He said they were friendly, prompt and clean and that they provided good entertainment. “They were just good people to deal with. We’ve already talked about them coming back again next year,” Brown said.

Brown said that Saturday’s Big Bend Roundup filled the grandstand to an extent that he had not seen in years. He said that Sunday was also a good day for the rodeo and races.

Brown said that as of Aug. 27 he and his staff had still been too busy putting things away and cleaning up to take a look at ticket sales or proceeds, but he feels that attendance was good overall.

Brown wanted to thank all those who volunteered before and during the fair.