Arts and Entertainment

Fair goes off without a hitch

Kaila Johnson of Oak Harbor, a member of the Whidbey Lone Stars 4-H club, was crowned the 4-H/Whidbey Island Conservation District queen at the Island County Fair. Jackie Vannice, WSU/Island County 4-H Program Coordinator, presented the teen with her crown before the start of Saturday’s 4-H animal auction. Kaila follows in the footsteps of departing royalty Laurrin Bates, last year’s queen, also of Oak Harbor.   - Brian Kelly / The Record
Kaila Johnson of Oak Harbor, a member of the Whidbey Lone Stars 4-H club, was crowned the 4-H/Whidbey Island Conservation District queen at the Island County Fair. Jackie Vannice, WSU/Island County 4-H Program Coordinator, presented the teen with her crown before the start of Saturday’s 4-H animal auction. Kaila follows in the footsteps of departing royalty Laurrin Bates, last year’s queen, also of Oak Harbor.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

The 2009 Island County Fair wrapped on Sunday night and fair employees deemed it another success.

“It was a really happy four days,” fair administrator Sandey Brandon said.

She added that the staff is still calculating the totals for this year’s ticket sales, but she suspects there was a spike in attendance.

Not even Thursday’s rain could dim crowd turnouts, Brandon added. The midway bleachers were covered with a tarp to protect from heat, but that night it kept visitors dry. The rest of the week grew progressively hotter and sunnier.

The events that drew the largest crowds included the Chicken Olympics, Brandon said, on the Clucky Stage.

“It is a fun, vaudeville act involving chickens,” she said. “It was as simple as making your chicken stand still.”

The event was awarded the Black and White Award by the Washington State Fair Commissioner through the Department of Agriculture. The award is hotly contested among barns and is for the “most outstanding” event.

Another audience draw was the Timebenders, a 50’s to 70’s cover band, who played 45 minutes past their end time. The high energy show had a standing room-only crowd, Brandon said.

From North Whidbey, the culinary department at Oak Harbor High School sold watermelon slices. The booth was called “Wildcats Catering for College,” and the group broke about even.

Other fair highlights included a new interactive Lego display at Fiddle Faddle Farm and the Whidbey Western games on Sunday, which is a series of horse riding contests.

Fair organizers also offered tickets to major concerts during end-of-the-day drawings, such as the Elton John and Billy Joel show at Key Arena.

Although budget cuts lowered the presence of the sheriff’s department on the fairgrounds, it was an incident-free week, Brandon said.

“The community supported it like we’d hoped,” she said.

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