Lakefair a proud South Sound tradition – and a lot of fun

Got a hankering for a spin around the Ferris wheel, stopping precariously at the top for a view of the Capitol Dome or Budd Inlet, and later biting into an onion burger?

If so, then Capital Lakefair is the place to be in the South Sound.

It has all that and plenty more. The celebration is in full swing with the grand parade tonight and culminating with a fireworks display Sunday evening.

By the end of its five-day run, Lakefair will have drawn close to 300,000 visitors, and created a significant positive impact on the community.

If you have enjoyed Lakefair this year, or at any time within the past 50-plus years, consider getting involved with the organization that makes it happen. Capital Lakefair needs volunteers and new energy to keep this iconic South Sound event going for another 50 years.

It took the Boys & Girls Club more time than expected to tip-toe through the minefield set by the City of Olympia and homeowners in the Garfield Elementary School area, but a workable plan has emerged without any serious causalities.

The original proposal met resistance because it eliminated one of Garfield’s athletic fields and, at 36 feet tall, it created an unwanted visual focus in a residential neighborhood. The new plan is only one story where it encounters most sightlines, and the taller gymnasium will be located closer to – and will blend in with – the existing school structure.

It was frustrating for neighbors and B&G Club supporters alike. But the seemingly endless meetings and numerous plan revisions have ultimately produced a plan for the club that satisfies most on either side of the issue. Not everyone got all that they wanted, but that’s how a successful compromise works.

Barring any last-minute eruptions, construction on the new club should start next year and soon after start serving more than 250 children per day.

There’s still time to play some golf at the Hawk’s Prairie course and help support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. Tee time is 1 p.m. Friday, July 27. Your $125 entry fee will help improve the lives of young people through the South Sound.

Entertainment Explosion, a group of 55- to 85-year-old performers who raise money for charitable causes through variety shows, is honoring three South Sounders.

The group has picked Joyce Gillie, Carolyn Lattin and Dennis Mills as their three newest “Living Legends of Thurston County.” A concert at 6.30 p.m. on Aug. 11 at the Olympia Senior Center will honor them.

Gillie was the first woman grand marshal of Capital Lakefair. Lattin is the 80-year-old owner and manger of Lattin’s Country Cider Mill since 1956. Mills is the vice president of the TCTV board and helped found the Veterans for Peace chapter in Olympia.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the adult day care programs at the Olympia and Lacey senior centers.

A new study shows that the recreational or nonmedical use of prescription painkillers has increased by 75 percent over the last eight years. It is also alarming that the study found the largest increases occurred among men, as well as people between the ages of 26 and 40.

According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, more than 15,500 Americans died in 2009 from overdosing on prescription pills. That’s double the number from 2002.

Thurston County and municipal jurisdictions have partnered with law enforcement and other social issue groups in the recent National Take-Back the Drugs program, dropping off unused prescriptions at one of many local collection sites. Refer to co.thurston.wa.us for specific locations.