Citizen Editorial: Mason Area Fair
We were expecting a very sad fair experience this year, after all of the news of the abandonment of the fair. While this year's fair was not what it has been in the past, those who were there worked hard to give fair goers a great experience. Every barn had people to greet us as we entered. In the case of the 4H buildings, the kids not only greeted us, but followed up by asking if we had any questions, could they tell us about their animals and so on. The 4H kids really impressed us, as well as the Lapidary group, the Photography group, the Quilt group, the Mason County Historical Society and the Mason County Sportsmen Association. The entertainment was great and the food was good! Our favorite was the Olympic Mountain Ice Cream, they did have a long list of flavors, and we tried to pick the best flavor by just about trying them all!
When I was growing up, the fair was one of the places that I began learning to be an adult, whether it was entering something I had made - hoping for a blue ribbon, working in a concession stand or helping with a cleanup crew.
It would be a real shame if our community allowed this opportunity for young kids today be lost forever. It doesn't matter who Is to blame for the demise of the fair, what matters is what we, Mason County residents, can do to make sure the Fair does not die.
The benefits to having a fair, and fairgrounds available for other event usage throughout the year:
Benefits the kids, helps them get a larger experience than just their family, their school, their town. How many Shelton area kids have ever seen a real live kangaroo baby?! Some of the town kids may or may not have ever seen lambs, calves or cattle, etc. The Fair provides a forum for those 4H exhibits and other exhibits where the kids can compete. When I was a kid, I was not in 4H but I was a member of Camp Fire, which always had concession booth, so I worked there, and learned how to count change and help customers. Later on, I had a job working at the fair cleaning up the restrooms and grounds at the fair.
Local businesses benefit from business at the fair as well as exposure to potential new customers.
Tourism, people drawn in to the fair and other events held at the fair ground property from outlying areas, needing lodging, restaurants, gas, etc. while they are here.
In other words, EVERYONE in Mason County benefits from the fair and the fairgrounds! The benefits to NOT having a fair along with the fairground property throughout the year: Honestly, I have not been able to come up with any benefit to not having a fair, or not having the fairground property available for private or community events. It seems to me like it would be an expense to tear it all down, and would be a setback for the spirit of community.
Lynn Ludeman, Lilliwaup, WA