"I love this Fair!" This is the theme for the 104th annual Northwest Washington Fair being presented Aug. 11-16.
Actually, I do love this fair. I love seeing the eager faces of families (especially the kids) as they walk through the gates on Monday morning of the fair. I love seeing the kids at the Small Animal Experience exhibit or as they walk through the barns and see the livestock.
I love seeing old friends greet each other - you can tell the friendship goes way back and yet they haven't seen each other for some time. I love knowing that new memories are being created each and every day at the fair - new stories in the making that will be told for generations. Stories like going with my 11-year-old granddaughter to the Hunter Hayes concert last year. I love the stories of families who have been involved in the fair for generations.
I love the fact that the fair has something for everyone. The Northwest Washington Fair attracts approximately 200,000 people each year because it offers so much affordable entertainment to so many.
Many of those people come as families. The Northwest Washington Fair, founded in 1911, is an annual tradition for many, whether they're preparing animals for judging and the livestock auction or just coming as a family because the fair truly has something for all ages in a clean and safe environment.
We have two carnivals, including one just for young children accompanied by their parents and grandparents. We're offering big-name stars - Gary Allan, Huey Lewis and The News and Collective Soul - as well as local and regional entertainers performing throughout the day. If you're looking for something to get your heart racing, try a longtime fan favorite, the demolition derby on Aug. 11, or a new addition, the Lynden PRCA Rodeo with its snortin' bulls and buckin' broncs on Aug. 12-13.
If you prefer quieter times, the Northwest Washington Fair has something for you as well. The core of the fair continues to be thousands of exhibits from local farms, residents and 4-H and FFA youth, displaying the area's best in animals from chickens to draft horses, plus, flowers, art, photography and much more. Last year's fair featured more than 10,000 exhibits and 1,600 exhibitors.
And bring your appetite to the fair! Many of our food booths are operated by local nonprofit organization, so you'll be helping them while getting some delicious fair treats.
We truly are grateful for the help of so many people. The Northwest Washington Fair is a nonprofit organization that is self-sustaining thanks to the efforts of many who volunteer their time, everyone from the people staffing admission gates to our department superintendents and board members.
Besides being economically viable, we strive to uphold our mission: "The community celebrates its agricultural heritage, creates memories, learns and is entertained." Our five core values are youth, community, agriculture, education and entertainment.
To further support the fair and agricultural education, the Northwest Washington Fair Foundation was formed in 2012. The fair foundation hopes to generate funds for agriculture scholarships, free gate admission for disadvantaged groups and a future agriculture educational center and museum. With the help of generous donors, the Northwest Washington Fair Foundation was able to award scholarships this year to Janis DeJager, Karis VanDiest, Clara Bedlington, David Stitt and Trisha Snydar.
Even after the week of the fair, we'll still be an active part of the community. The Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center hosts events throughout the year, including Relay for Life of North Whatcom County, Youth Fair, weddings, trade shows, horse competitions and much more.
I love this fair! Please come and join us, whether it will be your first time or 100th time. Come see your friends and be a part of this wonderful community celebration. See you there!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marv Tjoelker is president of the Northwest Washington Fair's board of directors. For more information online, go to nwwafair.com.