Clallam County Fair opens today

PORT ANGELES — From apples to zebras, there really is “Plenty to see, from A to Z” at the Clallam County Fair, as the 2009 slogan proclaims.

OK, organizers did have to fudge a bit on the zebra.

Fair Manager Shari Ioffrida said they wanted to get a live zebra but had to settle for a large stuffed one.

It will be the prize in the “Find the Zebra” contest over the four-day fair, which starts today and runs through Sunday at the Clallam County Fairgrounds at 1608 W. 16th St., Port Angeles.

The fairgrounds buzzed with activity Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of people worked to put the final touches on booths and displays, from agriculture and art to merchants and livestock.

Members of the Dry Creek Grange were baking and assembling the first of hundreds of fair scones, their signature offering and a tradition of the Clallam County Fair.

Some customers don’t have to wait to get their scones.

By late afternoon, the group had delivered approximately 900 scones to area businesses that had put in orders.

Grange member Cindy Kelly said the scone deliveries are organized by the Junior Grange as a way to thank local businesses.

“It’s also a great thing for their employees,” she said of the participating businesses.

Ag building ready

In the agriculture building, agriculture supervisor Mary Black was setting up special booths to highlight local farms.

New this year, the agriculture building will feature three different local farms and organizations that practice sustainable agriculture.

“I knew they were in the county, but you just don’t hear about them,” Black said.

Friends of the Field will be the first participant, followed on Friday by Fairaview Farm, with Jan’s Country Garden on Saturday and West Wind Farm on Salt Creek on Sunday.

“I just want everyone to have a chance to display their work,” Black said.

The agriculture building also will host healthy and quick cooking demonstrations by Heather Houck Reseck and live beehives from the North Olympic Peninsula Beekeepers.

Black is excited about one really big entry in the building — Erin Huff is displaying a 279-pound pumpkin that she grew from seed.

In addition to featuring the local farms, Ioffrida said the fair tried to support local businesses as much as possible.

“This year we wanted to feature buying locally grown and using local merchants,” she said.

Beyond plants and animals

While livestock and agriculture are the traditional heart of every county fair, there is a large variety of activities and demonstrations.

The grandstand arena will roar with the sound of a Moto-X stunt show and lawn mower races Friday, a logging show and rodeo on Saturday and a demolition derby Sunday.

Ioffrida said the lawn mower races are new this year and will feature the Hadlock Chapter of the American Racing Mower Association, known as the Super Stock Lawn Mower Association.

The fair has set up a special oval track in front of the arena. The lawn mower races will take place during heats of the Moto-X stunt show.

“They should be a fun addition,” Iofridda said.

Also new this year are demonstrations by the Olympic Disc Dogs, with flying disc catching; a railroad set up by the North Olympic Peninsula Railroaders; participatory cribbage games by the Port Angeles Peggers and cheese making by Fairaview Farm.

The carnival rides attract kids like bees to honey, but the “Kidz Zone” provides fun activities for kids 12 and younger, from pony rides and diaper races to a catch-and-release fish tank.

There’s even a root beer float garden for the way-under-21 set.

Two stages at the fair will feature a slate of local performers, as well as a few from farther afield.

Timebenders kicks off the entertainment at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. today on the Wilder Stage, with a show featuring 50 years of hits and more than 20 costume changes.

Goldy McJohn, the 1970’s supergroup Steppenwolf’s keyboardist, performs with his band at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday on the Wilder Stage.

Local performers from country-folk musicians to belly dancers will entertain fair-goers on two stages during the fair.

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Features Editor Marcie Miller can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at marcie.miller@peninsula dailynews.com.

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