Leslie Andersen, who lives east of Everson on 55 quiet and forested acres on Sumas Mountain, has worked at the Northwest Washington Fair for about 10 years. She first worked with 4-H club members, and now works at the fair as an administrative specialist coordinating the dozens of people who volunteer at the fair.
The fair runs Monday, Aug. 11, through Aug. 16 at the Northwest Washington Fair and Events Center in Lynden.
Andersen says there are many types of volunteers. Some volunteer directly for the fair, and some do so for the rodeo, which, for the first time, now runs as part of the fair. The volunteers usually have a passion for the area they volunteer for, and most return year after year to help Andersen says.
For example, a lot of people volunteer every year to work with the small animal experience and the "Farming for Life" exhibits. Others volunteer to work as ushers at the grandstand shows. Volunteers are men and women of all ages, Andersen says.
Another way that people volunteer is to help organizations that are fundraising at the fair, such as Kiwanis Club parking lots, and food booths that benefit local schools.
One of the new volunteer committees this year is the care committee, which is a group of people who walk the fairgrounds looking for people to help.
"Maybe someone is lost, or they are looking for something in particular; it is these volunteers' job to lend a helping hand," Andersen says.
Some of her favorite memories go back to being a 4-H leader and working with kids.
"We showed beef cattle and have lots of memories of working with these animals much, much larger than the kids trying to handle them," she says. "But it is all of those early memories that put the fair in my blood.
"It's why I love this fair and am still working in it today. I do it in part because it is my job. But really, I love working with all the people that work so hard to make it a great event."