Visit Whidbey Island’s fair | Editorial
August 17, 2012 · Updated 2:39 PM
Whidbey Island has many celebrations each year. But the granddaddy of them all is the county fair, which has been around for most of a century. Whether you’ve lived on the island one year or 50 years, the fair is always about the same, giving thousands of islanders the comforting feeling of coming home to a familiar place.
This year features one of the biggest changes in the fair’s history, that being its name. The traditional Island County Fair nameplate is gone. In its place is something called the Whidbey Island Area Fair, but that has already been shortened in people’s minds to the Whidbey Island Fair.
The change makes sense in that the fair has always covered only the Whidbey Island part of the county. For many years, the Camano Island part has joined up with Stanwood to present the Stanwood Camano Community Fair. Many Whidbey Islanders have never been to Camano, and vice versa, so it’s time to quit pretending there is a fair for an entire county. Of course, if some Camanoite with a pretty pig wants to show it off on Whidbey, they’re always welcome to our fair.
More technically, the name change, blessed by whatever state office is in charge of such things, allows Whidbey Island to go out of the county to attract certain entries. In recent years as the number of children has declined, so has the number of 4-H animal entries, and as the number of large farms has declined, so has the number of dairy and beef cattle. We all want our kids to occasionally see and smell the real world and get their noses out of their smart phones, so the more animals the better. A cow looks pretty much the same whether it’s from Oak Harbor or Mount Vernon.
Aside from such small changes, the fair will be what it has always been, a great place for family fun, a place to get together with neighbors, and a place where we can see our neighbors’ surprising skills on display, whether it be art, crafts, canned foods, flowers, garden produce, farm animals, fancy quilts or much more.
Add continuous entertainment, carnival rides and fattening food, and nothing beats the Whidbey Island Fair. It’s open today and tomorrow, so take a trip to Langley and have some old fashioned fun.