PORT ANGELES — If there’s one thing Dry Creek Grange has learned about Clallam County Fair visitors, it’s never mess with tradition.
Very little has changed since the grange began selling scones from its little building just past the north entry gate to the fairgrounds 60 years ago, mostly because fairgoers won’t allow it.
Like the time someone thought making scones into squares instead of triangles as the grange had always done was a good idea.
It didn’t go over well.
“It has to have those little corners,” said Tim Kelly, a retired lineman from Clallam County Public Utility District, who was mixing and baking scones Wednesday. “They like that corner that’s a little bit crisp.”
In celebration of its 60th anniversary selling scones at the Clallam County Fair, the Dry Creek Grange will be selling a limited number of aprons for $25 and T-shirts for $20 to support its operations and scholarship program during the fair, which opens today.
Other than expanding its flavor menu by adding strawberry and four-berry jam to what used to be a raspberry-only option, the grange’s basic scone formula has remained the same: Fisher scone mix, a generous brushing of butter and a heaping tablespoon of jam.
Some production processes have been updated and streamlined, however.
Fairchild Floors fabricated a custom “scone board” with side rails so dough can be rolled out to an even thickness and specific length. A custom-made square metal “scone cutter” measuring 4½ inches on each side punches out triangular piece dough that are a consistent size.
The scone-making starts the Wednesday morning before the fair opens on Thursday. This year, the grange is filling and delivering 28 orders for between four and 100 scones to locations around Sequim and Port Angeles.
“It’s our way to say ‘thank you’ to local businesses and their way to say ‘thank you’ to their employees,” said Cindy Kelly, who’s in charge of scone operations and married to Tim Kelly.
A few years ago, the grange decided that, rather than throwing away broken scones, it would put the pieces in a bowl and cover them with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. Voila! The scone cake was born.
“In the grange, we’re all about being efficient,” Cindy Kelly said.
Scone sales at the fair are the Dry Creek Grange’s primary money-maker and primarily cover its $9,200 yearly expenses and a scholarship fund for high school students. This year’s profits will be also dedicated to painting its building on Edgewood Drive.
It has not raised prices over last year’s fair, even though the cost of ingredients has gone up. Scones are still $3 and a scone cake will set you back $6.
“We try to make it affordable for families,” Cindy Kelly said.
After 60 years, the Dry Creek Grange has an efficient scone production system in place and a team of experienced volunteers and yet, Cindy Kelly said, there remained the fear of selling out and disappointing visitors who were counting on getting their once-a-year scone fix.
At last year’s fair — the first after a three-year COVID hiatus — the grange ran out of Fisher scone mix Saturday night and had to switch to making waffles on Sunday. The waffles sold well, but it was a sad substitute for the grange and fairgoers.
This year, Cindy Kelly purchased more scone mix than she thought the grange could possibly need.
“We used up 45 boxes last year and this year we got 80 boxes,” she said.
With each box of mix making about 125 scones, that’s 10,000 scones.
A word to the wise: don’t wait until the last minute to get one.