Fair Time: Look for the soul of the fair

All roads lead to the fair this week.

The Hood River County Fair awaits the community.

People come from outside the area to enjoy what is one of the most up-close-and-personal fairs you will find anywhere.

Changes this year include a new parking system, directed by Hood River Lions, enabling parking at all five lots at the same time, with increased capacity.

Future equestrians can get a preview of the real feel of Frank Herman horse arena with Friday afternoon’s stick pony races and activities; it’s free for youngsters.

Then, starting at 4:30 p.m., a new time, the venerable FFA/4-H livestock auction happens. This is an excellent community project to support, as youngsters show off livestock that are both beautiful and strong (the ring display sometimes turns into a wrestling match between sheep and teen.) The young owners raise animals as a hobby, sometimes as a business, and always to learn, and they are richly deserving of the support given each year by businesses and individuals from throughout the county.

Diversions such as the carnival and commercial displays certainly deserve a place at the fair, but at its core are the auction and accompanying care and feeding of the animals themselves in the barns, as well as the 4-H exhibits of clothing, art, photographs and educational displays, to name a few, and community entries in horticulture, art, textiles, preserved food, and other areas of judging.

So check out the fair – it is a bargain and truly suitable for the whole family. Take advantage of free parking, predicted good weather, the rides, the musical attractions, and the noise and revelry.

And then say hello to your neighbors and take in the quieter, farm and home-oriented pursuits that are the heart and soul of the entire three-day event.

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