Tie One On at the Fair

by Terry Ryder, September 14, 2016

This year for the first time ever apron wearers will be featured in the Fair Parade. If you have a frilly, silly, beautiful or ugly apron bring it to the Fairgrounds and tie it on and march along with other apron wearers. Don’t let the parade pass you by — this is the easiest way ever to be part of the festivities. If you want to really plunge into Apronland you can enter your group into the parade — final day for group entry is Thursday, September 15 — check in at the Fair Office. Beverly Dutra gave me a lavender print number with big pockets and eyelet trim that looks a lot like what my Louisiana grandma wore in her kitchen- so see you there!

The Fair Boosters, a group of people including but not limited to Jay Newcomer, Tim Bates, Barbara Goodell, Captain Rainbow, Robyn Harper, Donna Pierson-Pugh, Sophia Bates, Linda MacElwee, Andy Jones, and Morgan Baynham have been working all year long to find ways to increase participation in the fair and make the entry process easier. They also created some pamphlets for distribution at the Mendocino. Fort Bragg, Ukiah and Albion Farmers Markets. Working closely with Fair Director Jim Brown, his staff and the Fair Board they have pushed to get the word out for more entries. As you visit the Fair this year if you see more produce, more flowers, or a few new additions like the aprons in the parade and the apron contest they can be thanked right along with the hardworking Fair Board and Jim and his crew including new secretary Gina Pardini.

The Boosters have been fundraising all year to earn money to upgrade the computer system for entries. They have raised a substantial amount but still need $2500 to reach their goal. If you would like to help out there will be a donation jar near the apple tasting booth at the Fair. Every little bit helps and big bits help even more. The current computer system is perilously outdated and there is a really good program out there called “Blue Ribbon” that would really streamline the process.

“Fairy Tales” is the theme for floriculture this year so when you visit June Hall there will be some delightful and imaginative arrangements awaiting. When it is hot outside an escape into the Hall of Flowers which has a concrete floor that is wetted down regularly is the perfect antidote. Look for arrangements with fanciful names like “Cinderella,” “Puss in Boots,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Be inspired and uplifted by the beauty and resolve to enter an arrangement yourself next year. There is nothing like the thrill of anticipation as you step into either the Hall of Flowers, the Home Arts building, the Agriculture Building or the Hall of Fibers to see if YOUR ENTRY has won a ribbon. It is a guaranteed grin ear to ear when you see a ribbon hanging there.

Don’t forget to budget some time to sit in the Hall of Fibers listening to the spinning wheels whir, smelling the rich lanolin smells, hearing sheep baa as they are being shorn. Tied for most entertaining event in this building with the sheep-shearing exhibition is the Angora rabbit clipping by the witty rabbit man from Willits with his ponytail and turquoise jewelry collar. The Hall of Fiber is very much like a henhouse filled with contented women knitting, spinning, chatting, and weaving. Men and boys of course are very welcome. A calming environment if ever there was one. Check it out.

Also don’t forget to make it back to the rabbit and chicken judging area where 4H kids strut their stuff with their small charges. This is a great photo opportunity and one of the sweetest things to watch. You can hardly beat watching a little girl with a huge chicken under her arm for an “Aww, isn’t that the cutest?” moment.

The Fair is three days long and if you love the Fair and jump right on into it with your camera in hand you can fill three days with enjoyment, relaxation and appreciation for our leisurely rural lifestyle. Above all in the words of Jay Newcomer, “Don’t forget to get your corndog early while the oil is fresh.” Wiser words were never spoken. See you at the Fair!

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