County fair is an island tradition | Editorial

Carnival rides. Elephant ears. Corn dogs. Rabbit races. And this year, a circus.

Yep, with a quick look at the calendar we’re reminded that opening day of the San Juan County Fair is just a week away. Its four-day run begins Aug. 13.

The fair offers an opportunity to discover and admire the creativity, passion, hobbies and the enterprises of our neighbors. It’s a time to play together, compete against one another, cheer each other on, and celebrate the achievements of friends, neighbors and of islanders who we have yet to meet. It’s like one great big family reunion.

It’s a pretty good bargain, too: just $25 for a season pass (for adults), $18 for seniors, $15 for kids. And, on “Kids Day,” children can climb aboard as many amusement rides as they can stomach from noon to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday, for $22. Exhibitors pay only $15 for a four-day pass (for adults and seniors) and kids entering exhibits get in for free.

The fair also offers a discount on admission for those entering exhibits, such as work of art, a photo, pie or poem, flowers, a chicken or egg (whichever comes first) or goat or bunny, or home-brewed beer or costume made out of recycled materials.

How about pickling, preserving, drying or fermenting all the fruits and vegetables you’ve harvested this summer? Take those items to the San Juan County Pomona Grange Food Preservation Booth at the “Farmtastic Fun” County Fair for the chance to win some wonderful prizes. This year there are prizes for: best pickles, vinegars or relish, best jam or jelly, best canned vegetable, best dried fruit or vegetable and best meat product. Drop off your entries at the Food Preservation Booth Aug. 12 beginning at 10 a.m.

You can also volunteer to be a superintendent. Just a two-hour shift allows you to meet new folks and give back a little.

Islanders are not alone in their appreciation of the fair. While it remains a community event at its heart and soul, the county fair attracts more and more visitors each year as well.

Of the 20,000 people or so who attended the 2013 Fair, about 10 percent live outside the county, according to  fair stats, and, of those, 1,000 came specifically for the fair.

We say, the more the merrier. See you at the fair. For more information, visit