Fair board is starting early on 2018 fair planning

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Work is already underway to try to secure a carnival for the 2018 NCW Fair. At the Oct. 12 fair board meeting, board President Clint Wall said that a meeting has been arranged for a group of smaller fairs that will take place at the Washington State Fairs Association convention in Vancouver Oct. 19-21. Davis Amusement Cascadia has agreed to work with the smaller fairs that attend the meeting to see if routes can be created that would help carnival companies to maximize their profitability by serving six or seven fairs along a geographic route on consecutive weekends.

The NCW Fair was unable to obtain a carnival this year.

Some of those in attendance at the fair board meeting had ideas for activities in case there is trouble obtaining a carnival for a future fair, or to add to the number of attractions even if there is a carnival. Andreas Landon said that activities such as simulated horseback riding on “horses” made of barrels and saddles with straw heads, roping and milking were popular at the Walla Walla County Fair. Children also had an opportunity to ride sheep (mutton bustin’) and to have their photos taken during the rides.

The group brainstormed other ideas for alternate activities that could be attractions with or without a carnival. They included pony rides, wagon rides and contests in wheat sack sewing, pie eating, nail driving, and chasing chickens or greased pigs.

Board members discussed the need for entertainers who circle the grounds and for entertainment that could attract an audience in the community hall. They decided to begin contacting groups early on, such as Indian dancers from Nespelem, to avoid missing the chance for certain performances.

The board also discussed how they might promote rental of the community hall to generate revenue for the fair. Ideas included advertising in the Apple Blossom Festival brochure and having a booth at Katrina’s Bridal Premier, which is held in January in Wenatchee.

The board agreed to sign a contract with Tucker Cool to provide auctioneering services at the Friends of the Fair Crab and Prime Rib Dinner in March and to provide rodeo announcing during the Big Bend Roundup Rodeo.

Board members also decided to sign a contract with Romeo Entertainment to help the fair secure its headlining performer. The company has provided this service for the fair in recent years.

The board discussed potential events that could provide attractions throughout the year. Ideas discussed included snowmobile races, freestyle motocross and Northwest Truck Pulls.

At its September meeting, the board decided to pay exhibitors 5 cents per premium point awarded at this year’s fair. Premium points are still being calculated. Checks will be issued for the livestock sale first and then for the premium points.

The fair is in the process of looking for a manager and a maintenance worker. A few applications for the maintenance worker position have been received. Interim Manager Ed Daling said that he has looked them over and is going to send them to the county’s human resources department with his reviews. The person who is hired will work part-time on general county work and part-time at the fairgrounds.

The fair board is doing preliminary work before advertising for the manager position, which has not yet been posted. Inquiries should go through the county human resources department.

The county commissioners and the fair board have been in discussion on how to increase the viability of the fairgrounds and its activities. The commissioners approached the fair board for a special meeting on the subject Oct. 6. The fair board is working to provide their input on the proposal received from the commissioners.

The fair has advertised the space it has in its barns for winter storage of trailers, boats, motor homes, cars, trucks and ATVs. Fliers have been posted at various gas stations and post offices in the area. Rates are $20 per foot for the season for trailers, boats and motor homes, and $200 for the season for cars, jet skis and snowmobiles. A 12.84 percent excise tax will be added to the charges. The storage is available immediately and runs through May 15. To inquire about storage availability, call the fairgrounds at 745-8480.

The next fair board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 9.