Fair Tickets Return in 2021
Greetings, Clark County Fair Fans!!
If you are like me, you wanted to cry like a toddler who lost her balloon when it was announced that the Clark County Fair is cancelled this year. It is absolutely the wisest, most responsible decision in the interest of public health and safety. But I am still super bummed and rather pouty.
The Clark County Fair is by far my most favorite time of the year. For over a decade, I have attended the Fair almost every day from the free Fred Meyer Pancake Breakfast on opening day to the announcement of next year’s Riverview Community Bank Clark County Fair Court on the final evening.
In between, I cheer for the dedicated 4-H kids in the animal show rings. I nostalgically sing along with bands I (or my parents) grew up with. I lose my voice roaring encouragement to car and truck drivers and motorcycle riders who are either incredibly brave or totally nuts (both?). I lounge in the shade while watching jugglers and magicians and fiddlers and dogs who fly across a pool of water. I ride the Ferris Wheel at sunset so I can snuggle up with my hubby and gawk at the volcanoes we live amongst. I stop and chat with friends, because the Fair is full of them. I try to keep my jaw off my lap while watching the 4-H Fashion Revue and 4-H talent shows (SO much young talent in this county!). I watch small people deftly command large horses while wondering if there is a hotter place on the fairgrounds than the Dr. Jack Giesy Horse Arena. I laugh with awe at the magical powers of hypnosis and eagerly hope Jerry Harris asks if the audience wants a guest performer (Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are always especially hysterical). I breathe in the quintessential Clark County Fair aromatic blend of hay, livestock, spun sugar, deep fried grease, and exhaust from old farm engines sputtering and popping. I spend hours carefully selecting my favorite homemade quilt and favorite amateur photograph and favorite piece of Kid Art. I (mostly) resist buying bamboo bedsheets and telescoping flag poles and cookware sets. And, of course, I eat myself silly. FAIR FOOD is the BEST!
So how can we recapture all that Clark County Fair fun and community this year? How can we still celebrate Summer’s Best Party while scattered apart? How can we Fair At Home?
In addition to the cool stuff the Clark County Fair folks have put together for “The Best of the Fair” event this weekend, I have a few ideas. Yes, none of them is perfect…and some are perfectly silly. But I think the time is ripe for silly and imperfect, don’t you?
Demolition Derby with Remote Controlled Cars Get a small group of neighbors together, choose a large driveway, stay 6 feet apart, buy inexpensive RC cars online (Amazon has a bunch for less than $30; mine is lime green), decorate your mini car with self-expression and glue guns, bang the cars into each other, and see which one dominates.
Mini Monster and Tuff Trucks Similar to the Demolition Derby, scour the internet for appropriate remote-controlled vehicles, set up an obstacle course of hills, mud, ramps, stuff laying around the house and garage, and invite a small group of neighbors to compete.
Art and Photography Exhibit Put the word out on social media asking friends to share photographs and photos of homemade art, especially entries from kids. Encourage people to comment and vote with “Likes” for their favorite entries.
4-H Animals If you have friends or neighbors with livestock, ask if you can visit their animals. If you know 4-H kids, ask if they would be willing to demonstrate (from a safe distance) how they show their animal, explaining what they are doing as they do it. If visiting is not possible, consider asking the 4-H’er to record a video. Or use Facetime or Zoom or another videoconferencing app to watch and learn in real time.
Quilting and Canning Put the word out on social media for friends and family to share photos of quilts they have sewn and food they have canned. Maybe even give these traditional arts a try for yourself. I don’t know much about quilting (yet), but I can tell you that canning is pretty satisfying and a great way to have a taste of summer throughout the year. If you can something you want to enter in 2021’s Clark County Fair, my experience says your blue-ribbon award is all about proper “head space.” You’re welcome.
Chicken Dress Up Contest This is always one of my most favorite Clark County Fair contests! The 4-H kid and their chicken dress up according to a theme of their choice. Harry Potter, superheroes, and unicorns have been popular choices in the past. For Fairing at Home, this could easily be extended to include any and all pets…and any and all family members and neighbors. And once again, photos and videos work great if you need to keep your distance.
Llamas! I spend a LOT of time in the Llama Greenway during the Clark County Fair. I have become friends with llots of the llama people and therefore happen to know that if you want to get some virtual llama llove, you can book a Virtual Farm Field Trip with the folks who owned the most llamazing Rojo the Therapy Llama. For a fee, you can visit their farm in Ridgefield via Zoom, Go To Meetings, Facetime, etc. They will introduce you to their herd of thirteen llamas and alpacas and answer all your camelid questions. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Midway Rides I have yet to figure out a way to approximate a Ferris Wheel. My best idea was to ride the Portland Aerial Tram (“Beer Can”) connecting South Waterfront to OHSU. The views from the tram are fantastic! But, understandably, there are currently restrictions on whom can ride the tram so that is a no-go for the general public. As for other rides on the Midway, when it comes down to it, those rides basically exist to make you dizzy and get your stomach tied up in knots. So I suggest getting some baseball bats and some sturdy-stomached family members and/or neighbors. Spread out and hold each bat upright with the fat end on the ground. Have each admirably willing participant put their forehead on the handle end of the bat. On your mark, each person runs around their bat as fast as they can while keeping their forehead on the small end of the bat. The point here is to get really dizzy. When you think enough time has passed, yell “GO.” Each person has to try to run straight to a finish line. If done properly, they will be dizzy, nauseous, and stumbling. Just like the Zipper!
Concerts in the Grandstands Playing music at home is pretty easy. It is the selection that is critical for Fairing At Home. Personally, my Fair At Home playlist includes: Pat Benatar, KC and the Sunshine Band, The Guess Who, and Nick Superchi (a local pianist that often plays on the Columbian Stage. I bought a few of his CDs several years ago and listening to them always puts me at the Clark County Fair on a hot day, enjoying the shade of the big tent and the refreshment of a Hawaiian Shave Ice). I also hope to find some Dixieland jazz to approximate the Harbor Patrol Jazz Band. The Harbor Patrol is one of my absolute favorite features of the Clark County Fair. They have been a fixture at the Fair for over 25 years. They always find a good shady spot to set up and fill the area with head-boppin’ toe-tappin’ smile-makin’ music. Man, I’m going to miss seeing them this year!
Fair Food! A HUGE part of the Clark County Fair for me is the food. Throughout the year, I am a pretty healthy eater. But for 10 glorious days in August, I suspend all my self-imposed food rules. I allow myself to eat anything and everything I want. It is 10 days of gluttony and I dream about it all year long. For Fairing At Home this year, I have plans that include some DIY experiments using a brand new mini deep fryer, as well as supporting some local businesses with take-out orders. All the greasy details are in my article “Fair Food Feasting At Home!” Check it out!
Do you have other ideas about how to Fair At Home this year? I want to read ‘em! Please send me an email at email@example.com to share your plans! And feel free to check out my Woodhaven Ramblings blog (http://toniatwoodhaven.blogspot.com/) to read about how I end up Fairing At Home.
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Clark County Fairgrounds
17402 NE Delfel Road
Ridgefield, WA 98642
Office Hours: 8AM to 5PM, Monday - Friday