Classics return for annual Whidbey Island fair

This year’s Whidbey Island Fair is sticking with what works — food, farming, games, rides, music and a parade.

This year’s Whidbey Island Fair is sticking with what works — food, farming, games, rides, music and a parade.

All of the goodies and games, livestock and live music that people have come to expect from the annual spectacle, which continues through Sunday, Aug. 9.

Heeding feedback from past fairgoers, the Island County Fair Association put together a lineup of entertainment in the food, game, ride and audible varieties.

Headlining the Midway main stage acts is country musician Chance McKinney at 9 p.m. Saturday. Lil’ Smokies will pick-and-grin through its folk-bluegrass Sunday night.

Appealing to the adult beverage-prone crowd, the Fair Association moved its beer garden outside and within eyesight of the main stage.

Bingo will also be daylighted this year. Instead of occupying an indoor space, the bingo game was moved into an open-air tent at the edge of the carnival area, as fair co-administrator Carol Coble pointed out Monday morning amid a hectic work day of phone calls, scheduling and confirmations.

People of all ages are encouraged to play a few $1 games in the hopes of getting five numbers in a row and a chance to yell “Bingo!”

Rides will resemble those of 2014. Prominently featured will be a ferris wheel, noticeably absent from the fair a couple of years ago, alongside a carousel, Tilt-a-Whirl, Sizzler, Moon Raker, ‘toon cars, mirror maze, super slide, and the nausea-inducing Gravitron.

Food will, as usual, cover a wide range of palettes. Fried treats will be abundant, as will Latin and Asian cuisine, all to be washed down with lemonade or Hawaiian shaved ice or dipped berries or ice cream, or all of it.

Saturday’s parade, a true Americana spectacle, is not to be missed.

It will wind through Langley at 10 a.m. Stake a spot in the city’s downtown core or along Cascade or Camano avenues for prime viewing.

The parade launches from the Middle School bus barn, into Langley and back up to the fair to officially open it, despite the fair having run for two days by then, with a short ceremony around 10:30 a.m. Bring a small bag or deep pockets to stash away candy and other goods tossed out during the parade.

One of the new, interactive events is the duct tape contest run by some of the Atlantis, Inc ROV students. Make a duct tape creation, have it judged, and maybe win a prize at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Amid all of the fried food, carnival games, music and rides, the fair’s main mission to educate people about all things related to agriculture.

Fair Association board Vice President Wendy Sundquist said nothing embodies that better than the culmination of many 4-H students’ projects, raising and selling a farm animal at the livestock auction at noon Saturday.

Anyone wishing to see animals need only stroll a bit southwest from the main entrance for all of the barns. Alpaca, cats, chickens, dogs, ducks, goats, horses, pigs and sheep will all be shown as part of 4-H competitions.

Sundquist recommends touring all of the animals barns.

Sundquist, a sheep barn and fleece and fiber exhibit superintendent for several years, said the goat exhibits are must see.

Get your goat four ways this year: goat olympics Friday morning, goat “Sound of Music” film and sing along Friday evening, goat milking contest Sunday morning, and goat calling contest Sunday night.

That sets up visitors to follow a 4-H exhibitor during the large animal round robin at 11 a.m. Sunday, in which an older 4-H student who showed an animal is tasked with handling each of the different large animals: alpaca, dog, horse, pig and sheep.

“These are some of the more esoteric things going on,” Sundquist said.

“It really does showcase what the 4-H kids have to do,” she said.