Fairgrounds are prepared

 

 

Dakota Foster, a junior at Waterville High School, moves a fence while his sister Seantel, a freshman, looks on. Foster was working during Beautification Day on Aug. 4 at the NCW Fairgrounds. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

 

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Barnyard Buddies and Country Extras organizer Debra Schneider looks at online ads for kittens as Amberly Schneider looks on. Animals were being secured for the fair’s popular petting zoo. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Everything about the NCW Fair is a community effort. Many of the ways that people volunteer to help run the fair can be seen during the fair. Other efforts are less visible, but no less important. One of these is the preparation of the fairgrounds, and much of this work was completed by 4-H groups, members of civic groups, individuals, and fair board members and their spouses during Beautification Day Aug. 4.

People turned out in the morning and took on a list of jobs needed to get the fairgrounds ready. These included looking for and removing wasp nests, removing trash and refuse from the barns, dusting and blowing out the barns, completing minor repairs, cleaning the ticket booths, weeding and setting up the petting zoo.

Seantel Foster, a member of Douglas Livestock and a Waterville High School freshman, came with her brother Dakota, a high school junior, and her mother Linda.

Natalie Lain holds the steering wheel of a tractor, while her brother Robert sits beside her. The two also took their turn with chores during Beautification Day at the NCW Fairgrounds Aug. 4. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Just before lunchtime the Fosters were busy moving fencing.

Seantel Foster said she felt good about coming to help.

“I want to do the better for our town and our community,” she said.

Some other young people that came to help were Hannah, Natalie and Robert Lain. The Lains’ mother Michelle is the 4-H program assistant for Chelan and Douglas counties. The Lains helped with sweeping, cleaning and setting up signs. Hannah, who is 11, spent some time caring for Natalie and Robert, who are 5 and 3, so Michelle Lain could work. Natalie and Robert took their turns with the chores and also explored tractors that were parked in the midway.

Michelle Lain thinks it is good for the children to have the chance to come to the grounds before the fair starts.

“It’s good to be comfortable with the fair before the fair,” she said.

Liz Frare of Waterville also came to help. She spent her morning cleaning the pig, sheep and goat washing station and weeding the landscaping in the midway.

At the petting zoo, otherwise known as Barnyard Buddies and Country Extras, members of the Ellis Schneider family were busy setting up cages and making sure they have enough animals lined up for all the fairgoers who will enjoy this exhibit.

The family of the former fair board member has been managing the petting zoo for almost 20 years.

Ellis Schneider’s daughter Julia Goodman, who is the vice president of the fair board, was in the barn with her husband Bob, her sister Debra Schneider and Amberly Schneider, a member of the younger generation who married into the family.

Fair secretary Margaret Viebrock organizes lunch for volunteers at the NCW Fair Beautification Day Aug. 4. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

The organizers have secured cats, ducks, rabbits, calves, pigs, chickens, guinea pigs and hamsters. They were still looking for more kittens and were spending time searching online ads.

Julia Goodman said that many of the smaller animals are donated to the fair, but the fair purchases the larger animals and the rabbits, which are registered members of their breeds.

During the fair, the exhibit sells raffle tickets for the animals, and through the earnings is able to fund the purchase of the next year’s animals.

Raffle ticket sales are usually good, according to Goodman.

Asked about what she feels is the greatest value of the exhibit, Goodman said that it is educational for children. It gives them a chance to ask questions, and to learn about how animals grow from babies to adults. It also prepares them to be pet owners.

“We’re able to mentor them in a way that I think can help them with a new animal if they were to get one,” Goodman said.

She added with a laugh, “The kids and adults love it.”

Asked why she likes to help with the exhibit, Debra Schneider said that she currently doesn’t have any animals of her own.

“It’s my way of getting to be around animals for a while,” she said.

In addition to family members, others volunteer to help with the exhibit.

“We incorporate as many helpers as we can get because it takes a whole crew,” Goodman said.

Fair Secretary Margaret Viebrock was in the Lions’ Den kitchen preparing a lunch of hotdogs, baked beans, fruit, chips, brownies and cookies for all the helpers. Linda Daling helped her put the lunch together.

“It’s the least that we can do for people who want to come to work,” Viebrock said.

Fair Manager Carolyn Morley, who was present to help with the efforts along with fair secretary Ashley Freeman and maintenance director Ed Daling, declared the day a success.

Other groups that couldn’t participate in the Beautification Day will help get other jobs done before the fair opens on Aug. 23, Morley added.