A whirlwind of fun

‘Summer’s Best Party’ draws thousands of attendees, celebrates 146th year

Young attendees enjoy one of the many rides during opening day Friday at the Clark County Fair . It will continue through Aug. 10 with activities for all ages. Buy this photo

Livestock auction is Saturday, Aug. 9

The 2014 Clark County Junior Livestock Auction starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Clark County Fairgrounds Beef Arena in Ridgefield.

FFA and 4H members have been busy all year preparing to exhibit their animals at the fair and preparing them for auction. For sale this year are rabbits, beef, goats, hogs, poultry and sheep.

At the fair, animals are judged by professional livestock evaluators, and those that meet established market quality standards will be auctioned. Proceeds from the sale go directly to the youth who have raised the animals through the Market Animal Project.

As an addition to the JLA, Clark County Youth Efforts Against Hunger will be present with their auction animals. YEAH was founded in 2006 by the Junior Livestock Auction Board to provide meat raised by 4-H and FFA members to needy families in Clark County. At the fair, buyers can donate their animals to YEAH or make cash donations to help YEAH buy other animals and pay for processing. The meat is then donated to the Clark County Food Bank.

In 2013, the YEAH donated 5,904 pounds of packaged meat valued in excess of $50,000 - this is enough meat for 3,500 meals (or a 5-week supply for the Clark County Food Bank).

Bidders can register between 9 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 9th, sign in as a bidder at the registration table near the Auction Ring. Registration forms are available at www.clarkcojla.or...

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Andrew Murray interacts with “Crazy Heart,” the llama during opening day at the Clark County Fair. He has been a member of 4-H for six years.

A feeling of celebration was in the air during opening day at the Clark County Fair Friday morning. Whether it was to brave one of the stomach-turning rides, watch the new traveling sea lion exhibit, feast on fair food or just have fun, people came out in force for “Summer’s Best Party.”

By 10 a.m., many of the parking lots were full and people waited in lines for some of the more popular rides.

Opening day admission was waived until noon for those lucky enough to snatch free passes at Fred Meyer. Some stores were all out as of Thursday afternoon.

The passes included a pancake breakfast for those who arrived before 11 a.m., on a first-come, first-served basis.

Christina Lawson of Vancouver has been attending the fair for the past 10 years, since her daughter Piper was an infant. Now, Piper and brother Keegan enjoy the tradition of going to the fair on opening day.

“I think the kids would be devastated if we missed this,” she said. “They just love the rides.”

And Lawson?

“I love the food, especially the elephant ears, funnel cakes and pulled pork sandwiches,” she said. “This is the only time I eat this way.”

Her sister, Nikki Seago, nodded agreement.

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“Freak Out,” aptly named, both delighted and scared those brave enough to ride, as it rose higher and higher in the air until riders were upside down.

“I love the corn dogs and corn on the cob,” she said. “We always come on opening day, get the free Fred Meyer passes and go through the fair. It’s good family fun.”

Piper, who was just getting started on the rides, was looking forward to braving “Freak Out.”

“It goes upside down and high in the air,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

Keegan prefers rides that don’t go upside down.

“I love going on the race cars,” he said. “It’s my favorite.”

Steve Dean of Hazel Dell waited patiently by the Teacup ride, while his granddaughter and her friends spun themselves around and around.

“I’ve been to lots of fairs, and it’s a good time,” he said. “I enjoy being here with my granddaughter, and this is a fun thing to do.”

His favorite fair foods?

“Chicken on a stick and French fries,” he said. “I don’t like the elephant ears here as much because they don’t use cream cheese and strawberry topping. That is the best.”

Jared Jimenez of MLJ Ranch tended to cows and bulls in the beef barn. It is his 13th year at the fair.

He is the son of Michael and Leona Jimenez, who own the ranch.

“Dad is on the fair board and mom is the beef superintendent, so I’m here, too,” he said. “The main reason we do this is because of the education and to let people know more about these animals.”

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The view from the Ferris Wheel at the Clark County Fair provides one of the best vantage points of rides and attractions.

He adds, “We’ve always been hands-on and let people come up and touch the animals, and get to know them.”

Although preparing animals for the fair is time-consuming and can sometimes result to kicks to Jared’s knees and shins, he keeps coming back.

“I love interacting with the people,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, and there’s been times I’ve said I won’t do it again, but once you get here it’s always worth it.”

Andrew Murray of Vancouver brought his two llamas, Harley and Ike, and alpaca, Wyatt, for judging at the fair. The 13-year-old has been participating in 4-H for six years.

“I really like bringing the animals out here and working hard,” he said. “All of our practice pays off.”

Before an animal can be brought to the fair, it has to be immunized, de-wormed, groomed and taught appropriate behavior.

“It takes lots of time to show them what they can do and work with them,” he said.

The fair will remain open until Aug. 10.

In addition to carnival rides, the community exhibits, commercial exhibits and food, there are new attractions such as “Sea Lion Splash,” a traveling sea lion exhibit that aims to educate and entertain; “Lego Lane,” a hands-on Lego play and display area presented by Bricks and Minifigs; ToyTopia, an interactive exhibit featuring the history of toys that will include a showcase of classic 80s and 90s arcade games; and “The High Diving Pirates of the Caribbean,” which features a giant inflatable pirate ship.

Back in action for a second year is “FairCon,” a collection of pop culture activities for the whole family featuring a film festival and film-making race, gaming contests, free-play video games, a costume competition known as CosPlay, and more.

99.5 The Wolf Grandstands will have an assortment of free entertainment including mutton’ bustin’, bull riding, motocross, demolition derby, tuff trucks and monster trucks.

The Comcast Kids Park, Fred Meyer Kids Stage and The Columbian Activity Stage will be filled with action and plenty of family activities, including contests such as Toddler Trot and hula hoops, as well as watermelon, pie and hamburger eating.

For more information, visit www.clarkcofair.com.