County Fair improves upon classic formula

This year the Hood River County Fair is sticking to its usual formula for summer fun, with a few exceptions.

New to the fair, which runs Wednesday through Aug. 3, is a talent contest, expanded exhibit entry hours and a special exhibit category for out-of-towners.

Fair manager Clara Rice hopes these features will make the fair more accessible and better able to showcase local performers.

“We have so much talent in the valley, and we need to expose it,” said Rice.

After registration closed earlier this week, nine people had signed up for the talent contest, which will be held Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the fairgrounds’ park area. The winner will have the opportunity to travel to the state fair to compete for bigger prizes.

According to Rice, the contest is part of an effort to standardize fairs statewide by holding the same events at both the county and state level.

“We’re working to make sure everything flows both ways,” said Rice. “We’re trying to get things as uniform as we can, so people who go here can go to state and have the same experience.”

Also new this year are expanded exhibit entry hours on Monday, from 1-8 p.m. Previously, there was only a two-hour window in the evening, which Rice felt was too restrictive.

This summer, youths who are visiting the valley may enter exhibits in the fair in a separate class, and are eligible to win ribbons and cash prizes just like other fair exibitors. Youths must submit entries themselves, rather than having an adult do so.

The carnival will feature at least 18 rides this year, and Rice encouraged fairgoers to buy their ride bracelets early and save $3 off the standard $15 price. Bracelets are available at the fair office and Waucoma Bookstore, and must be purchased before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Many outside vendors are returning for another year, and Rice praised the variety of food that will be available.

“There will be something that should please just about everyone,” said Rice.

Here is a list of pre-fair events happening this week:

* The 4-H Dog Show will be held at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

* 4-H entries will be Monday at the fairgrounds from 5-8:30 p.m. Livestock judging will be at 2 p.m., and Open Class entries for the fair happen from 1-8 p.m., including baked goods, ceramics, food preservation, hobbies, clothing-textiles and handcrafts.

* On Sunday, Open Class entries for fruits and vegetables will be from 8-10:30 a.m. Enter baked goods, ceramics, food preservation, hobbies, clothing-textiles and handcrafts between 8-10:30 a.m., and small animals between 6:30-8 p.m.

* On Tuesday, Open Class flower judging entries are from 9-11 a.m.

* A full schedule of fair events will appear in the next issue of the News. For more information, call the fair office at 354-2865.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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