Sizeable turnout revives faltering County Fair

Does anyone care if we have a county fair? See why the increased gate count at the 101st Multnomah County Fair indicates there will be a 102nd edition‚

Totally concentrating on his first pony ride is Christian Cop.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Since the Multnomah County Commissioners withdrew their support for the county fair years ago, the event had dwindled to the point of near-extinction.

Unlikely locations, such as the Portland Meadows race track, and a minuscule promotion and operating budget, have nearly shuttered the century-old traditional family event.

SE Portland back-yard gardener Larry Smith showing his award-winning, and very, very big trombone squash.

Jeanette Benson and Katie Olson, judging flowers and arrangements at the Multnomah County Fair.

But, 25,000 folks passing through the Oaks Park gate during the Memorial Day weekend gave credence to their 2007 slogan, “We’re Still Kickin’ – Get your kicks at the 101st Multnomah County Fair”.

“Thanks to good weather, and the support of the community, this was a very successful event,” reported Steve Higgs, one of the fair’s coordinators.

The three-day event included entertainment, talent contests, pirate shows, a chicken barbecuing contest‚ and the wacky Weiner Dog races.

Kristin Madden and Capt’n Mad Tim provide pirate fun, as they promote “Scream at the Beach”. “Come see our October show,” Mad Tim urges.

Karly Morris tap-dances her way to a trophy at the Kid’s Stage. She’s a Junior Blazer Dancer.

The event, held at Sellwood’s Oaks Amusement Park, included traditional county fair events such as officially sanctioned rabbit and cavy judging, pony rides, and a petting zoo. And, the amusement park polished up and operated all of their rides, providing thrills for family members of all ages.

By going back to the traditional values of county fairs ‚Äì community, friends, and simple entertainment‚ this event provided great memories for the many hundreds of families who visited. And, the $8,000 raised by the fair’s foundation silent auction will help its dedicated volunteers mount the 102nd edition in 2008.

Leather worker Low Gray Wolf shows his craft.

Jason Whitehurst, Cavy Judge, traveled from Salem. This particular show is by Rose City Rabbit and Cavy Fanciers.

Tabatha Ruiz, Jadon, and Jon solve the puzzle, in Humphrey’s Farmyard Frolics.

Pat Chappell and Brandon Richardson were winners in the “Big Cluck Cook-off” at the county fair. “Garlic, seasoned salt, and pepper makes it work for us,” said Pat.

Shelden Richards, with Hayden Pinney‚ who is holding his winning racing Weiner Dog. Pinney says, “She’s the fastest wiener dog here; she’s primed, she’s ready, she’ll take on any hot-dog here!”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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