With just days to go until the 2019 Washington County Fair, volunteers are hard at work ensuring the fairgrounds are up to par for the estimated 15,000 people who will visit.
Amy Green, 4-H/Youth Coordinator at the Washington County Extension office, said notes for the 2019 fair were being compiled during the 2018 fair. This year, she has 396 4-H’ers participating with more than 2,500 projects registered.
With most deadlines on July 1, prep for the fair began just a couple of weeks ago. Once all students and projects are registered, the programs can be printed, ribbons and trophies ordered and sorted. Green said the week before the fair is always the busiest and said it becomes a 90-hour week for her. On Thursday, July 11, 160 volunteers were present on the fairgrounds to ensure prep would be completed properly and sufficiently.
“Tonight, we are building a fair,” she said.
Putting together a weeklong event is tough, but worth it, she said, because of the kids who get to enjoy the benefits. She encourages people to come out and enjoy the fair because the kids have worked hard all year to be successful.
“It’s just a great time to see kids have so much pride in what they’ve been doing,” she said. “It’s also rewarding to see the families be proud of their people, too, and cheering each other on.”
Dean Sieren, president of the Washington County Fair Board, said having the sixth-largest 4-H program in the state is something Washington should be proud of. Volunteers not involved in 4-H have been preparing for the fair since the day after the 2018 fair ended, he said.
August through April is filled with planning, booking entertainment and vendors while May onward is what he refers to as the “getting dirty part.” Volunteers are busy ensuring the buildings, grounds and campgrounds are cleaned and ready for guests.
The campgrounds have been expanded this year to add an additional 64 spots, making the total 114. Knowing so many people are coming to the fair gives him a feeling of pride, he said, because every year they try to make the fair a little better than the last year.
As Sunday, the first day of the fair, inches closer, Sieren said the theme song for the week will get them through it: Living on a Prayer.