Fair notice: Time to think about contributing to the summer extravaganza

The “crookedest carrot” and other delights will be back at the Hood River County Fair this summer.

The event, with contests in art, horticulture, baking and much more, does not start until July 24, but this is actually the time to start thinking about involving yourself.

Everything you need to know about events, contests and entry requirements will be in the fair book, available at local businesses in Hood River, Odell, Parkdale and Cascade Locks this month.

The fair is the annual celebration of all things Hood River County — be it odd-shaped vegetables, flowers, animals, baked goods or art work.

The 2013 theme slows things down from last year’s “Race to the Fair” motto.

This year it’s “Country Scenes and Children’s Dreams.” Fittingly, this umbrella phrase covers plenty of territory. As one way to participate, anyone who wants to may pick up fabric and create something that expresses the “scenes and dreams,” idea. This upcoming contest will be for adults and children.

Art work that children have already done is also fair game for fair display; think about that later this month when projects and assignments start making their way home as the close of the school year approaches. In addition, adults with interesting collections might consider sharing them with the community in the Open Class exhibits.

Planning an early-summer vacation? Consider entering an image from the Oregon dunes or Grand Canyon — or your own backyard.

The photography contest also seeks photos of farms and community events. These are opportunities for anyone to present their best or favorite views of places and activities that make the community special.

The fair is, among many things, a chance to display ourselves: the “scenes and dreams” of the things we do, grow, and make, and care about.

Each of us can, even in a small way, help make the mid-summer event that much more of an overall expression of this place and its people.

When you have a chance, pick up a fair book for all the details you need this spring and summer to plan for making the 2013 fair an even fuller experience for all.

It could start with a crooked carrot growing in the ground right now.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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