New mural to highlight fair festivities

Fine-tuning activities abuzz for 2013 Hood River County Fair

Aligning chairs on a lawn, labeling dilly beans in a jar, and placing a camper on not-so-level ground were all part of the diverse set of tasks that make up a pre-fair Monday at Hood River County Fairgrounds.

“I like everything about the fair,” said 4-H’er Eva Murray of Hood River as she and her parents settled in next to the livestock barns, like dozens of families who also spend the week camping at the fairgrounds to have round-the-clock access to their animals.

On the other side of the fairgrounds, in the Community Building, Shirley Karr filled out entry tickets and canning method labels that go on the bottom of canned goods entered in the Open Class Food Preservation competition.

Mural emphasizes drug-free message

Check out the stadium-sized mural on the west side of the Wy’east grandstand, and an accompanying mural on the west side.

The project was just completed last week under the guidance of 2000 HRVHS graduate Alison Bell Fox. She worked with dozens of local children, with community members’ help, to design and paint the massive alcohol-, drug- and tobacco-free message.

See it up close or look at photos of the project in the 4-H Building at the Fair. The project was coordinated by the Hood River Commission on Children and Families.

Karr said helping people get entered is a family affair: Her daughter, Barbara Dunham, helps enter people in textiles, and her granddaughters, Jo and Jesse Karr, 16, do so in vegetables and art.

Karr logged in several jars of pickled dilly beans and other entries by Parkdale’s Ellisa Fellows, noting which are water-bath canned or pressure cooked — the judges need to know to make sure the correct method is employed depending on the contents.

Out in the sun-drenched midway, ride foreman Bruce Brown, Jacob Wendell and Sam Fitts of Cascade Amusements were setting out ornamental panels and the chain-held seats that comprise the popular dangling-seat sky ride.

The crew removed all the parts from the flatbed truck and made sure the chairs were all in numerical order and that all the pieces of the ride are checked before assembly.

Throughout the large lawn on the south side of the fairgrounds, carnival workers are busy preparing the rides that will entertain thousands starting at 1 p.m. today. Fitts has a local connection with this fair: His grandmother is Mary Lee Bork of Hood River.

The Murray family — Mitchell, Katherine and Eva — rested in the shade as they figured out how to put their pop-up camper on level ground along the west edge of the fairgrounds.

After a half-hour or so of adjustments, Mitchell figured out the best set of blocks, and the angle for the camper, and they were set.

The scene is behind the animal barns, where youth contestants and their families spend the week.

This year Eva is entering a pygmy goat and three bunnies: a Jersey Wooly, Californian and Holland Lop.

“I think this year I like having my goat up there and I’m happy to be having more than one rabbit,” Eva said. “I like living here all week; it’s like camping here for a week with other people.”

“I’m excited to see everyone here tomorrow morning (Tuesday); it’s when it gets going,” said Katherine, who is Funny Farm leader.

She said the neighboring campers are those of friends and fellow Funny Farm members, and the spot will become a gathering place throughout the fair.

“It’ll be a common area, and we just meet here, the girls doing each other’s hair, and guys are checking each other’s belts out. It’s definitely a community thing. It’s fun.”

Mitchell said, “Eva does all the work, but we’re here to make sure she gets here and there.”

Katherine will offer advice and assistance where needed, but said most of that is already done, thing such as making sure all members have all their equipment with them. The fun is watching the 4-H’ers take care of their animals at the fair itself.

“It’s really fun to watch them get up there and show,” Katherine said. Eva will show her pygmy goat on Thursday afternoon.

Katherine said, “Funny Farm has only one new member, and another family has six kids, all with experience at county fair and State Fair.

“I’ve carefully worked it so I don’t have that much to do,” she joked.

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