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Round Table: The Fair Moments we’d love to have told

A beaming Emma Laney and her armload of ducks.

That would be a Fair Moment for sure.

Stories certainly abound at the Hood River County Fair, a fact we tried to demonstrate with “Fair Moments” on page B1, our annual sampling of what are just a few things worth telling, large and small, that go on at the fair.

The 2013 fair was successful, with fine weather and about a 2 percent increase in gate receipts this year, according to Fair Manager Clara Rice.

Youth entries were up, both in animals, in art, handicrafts and other areas, according to Rice. In addition, plenty of youth entered food preservation categories, thanks to the classes taught at OSU in the past couple of years by 4-H coordinator Dani Annala and others.

Animal entries were also up over last year, and 4-H and FFA participants enjoyed big returns at the Livestock Auction Friday, as Ben Mitchell reports on page A1.

All this suggests that the future of the fair is solid. With numbers up, and the quality food, textiles, art, and animals entered, there is much to be hopeful for as Hood River County carries on its agricultural traditions.

In short, there were plenty of Fair Moments, and I was thinking of all the ones that could also be told, when 4-H leader Juliana Dolan sent us the photo of Emma Laney and her poultry.

“This is what the fair is all about for me,” Dolan writes in the heading on her email.

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In that spirit, of all the things that give people meaning at the Hood River County Fair, deserving at least a short mention, there is a modest list of more Fair Moments that might have been told:

n Thirty or more firefighters, law enforcement officers and other public servants filling the stage with Darryl Worley and the band on Saturday night, in honor of their service.

n A 4-year-old’s “Have you seen my picture?” asked of total strangers in the Wy’east gym art area.

n The carnival worker putting his hat over the midway misting machine, soaking his headgear and returning to work in the heat of the day.

n The colorful artistry in Alfredo Elisea’s fajita mix: pork, sausage, onions and huge chunks of pineapple, simmering in the cauldron. And Veronica Elisea’s magical tomatillo hot sauce, on the side.

n Youngsters’ sincere surprise at Godfrey the Magician’s card tricks.

n The camaraderie of FFA and 4-H kids doing the smelly and thankless job of slopping out the swine pens.

n The toddlers on stage with Zac Grooms and Brewer’s Grade, Thursday night at the Open Barn stage.

n Seven-year-olds cautiously peering inside the worm container in the OSU Extension display in the Horticulture Building.

n Singer Brandon Cash’s uncanny vocal and physical resemblance to musical great Johnny Cash, and the moment when a couple got up and left between songs, Brandon waving and saying, “goodbye now.”

“You know, I’ve never actually done that before,” Cash added.

n A 6-year-old’s “wait, look at this,” tug at Mom’s arm as she pulls up to take a closer look at clothing made by 4-H kids.

In a year or two, that girl might just be among those creating that dress, painting that picture, or showing those ducks.

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