Go to Fair: Merry-go-round to market goats, this one has it all

Hood River County Fair will be familiar yet new.

Fair Manager Clara Rice and staff, the fair board, and all the many volunteers deserve credit for all they do to make this event happen.

The best way to give them credit is to attend this multi-faceted celebration of community. It will look much like it did last year, but there are changes, as well.

The fair is fully handicapped-accessible now, with the ramp leading to the fair office; the concrete was poured last week.

Added effort is being made this year to make sure everyone who needs help getting around can do so: Veteran volunteer Jerry Petricko and others will be at the wheel of a five-passenger cart that will continually shuttle from the memorial shelter near the fair gate, westward to the animal barns and back.

This year’s theme, “Country Scenes and Children’s Dreams,” well sums up the fair not just this year but always: it has something for everyone. The exhibits of youth and their animals, art work, and other endeavors are a key part of the fair, but it is also true that the passions and efforts of adults are also proudly displayed.

This year the 4-H Horse Show has been rescheduled for August, giving the fair the chance to use the upgraded Frank Herman Arena for other equine pursuits, many of them open to folks who like to ride. Look for cattle dog sorting, dummy roping, cattle cutting and barrel racing in the arena on Thursday and Friday, and penning and ranching on Saturday.

In addition, kids’ buckle roping is planned, and at the nearby Mutton Busters arena there will be many other opportunities for kids to have fun. Add magician Godfrey, tractor pull, exhibit animals, OMSI displays, and you have a long list of free activities for children.

Notable this year is the earlier start of Friday’s 4-H/FFA Livestock Auction: anyone may come and bid on market swine, sheep, ducks and other animals that youth in the county have worked long and hard to care for. Supporting the auction goes a long way to rewarding these youngsters for their work, and enabling them to carry it forward for another year.

Speaking of hard work, stroll over to the Wy’east grandstand and take a close look at the youth-painted anti-drug and alcohol murals on the east and west faces. They are impressive works. (See photo on page A1, and details on page A5.)

To the fair board’s credit, a real effort shows this year to enhance accessibility for anyone, and to expand the fun and games for the kids. Naturally, the midway rides, which require tickets, will provide long hours of entertainment, but it is gratifying that the fair is intentionally expanding the free menu of options for families.

The fair is already a low-cost opportunity for entertainment and even enlightenment. There is much fun to be had, and much to learn, be it at OMSI, or from an impromptu conversation with a FFA steer owner, from the hobby collections to the 4-H research projects that are there in the school gym and Summit Building, respectively, for anyone to see.

Every corner of the fair, be it the merry-go-round or market goats, is deserving of attention. Dedicate a few hours at least once this week and go check out what your friends and neighbors are up to, because that is what this traditional and grassroots fair is all about.

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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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