74th Okanogan County Fair returns as a crowd comforting fixture

Pandemic protocols included

The sheep judging event is a popular fixture every year at the fair. Mike Maltais/QCH

A judge, right, takes notes during a horse show in the arena.

Six-year-old Marshall Duncan, right, from Omak gets some elevation at the PUD outdoor exhibit.

Rick Lewis of Mazama won a Grand Champion ribbon in the Arts & Crafts Building for his electric train display.

Those having a problem calculating proper social distancing found the example of five cats helpful.

Chief Joseph and an Appaloosa horse comprised one panel of a history quilt.

A corn dog – literally – came from the creative mind of Tonasket student Merritt Rodgers.

The Little Beef Barn received a welcome facelift from Fair Queen Whitney Wilson, who selected the building’s rehab as her fair improvement project of choice.

Rubber duckies were being offered one to a customer in the Commercial Building.

OKANOGAN – The 74th annual Okanogan County Fair demonstrated both its resilience and adaptability to adverse circumstances when it opened the gates for its four-day run last Thursday, Sept. 9. It was a far different scene from this time last year when the fairgrounds were sheltering livestock during the Cole Spring wildfire and serving as a central depot for recovery supplies.
Recognizing the potential for a local resurgence of the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant that is affecting other areas of the state and nation, Fair Advisory Committee members met earlier with county officials to review safety measures put in place on the fairgrounds to discourage the spread of infection. Hand washing stations, signage, and hand-sanitizing dispensers were conveniently accessible for visitors taking in the exhibits, music, and food. Vendors for the latter donned face masks.
That same day Gov. Jay Inslee issued a mandate that became effective Monday, Sept. 13, requiring all people attending outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, vaccinated or not, to wear face masks.
Washington State Fair Commissioner Ron Crawford, one of eight on the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Fairs Commission Advisory Committee, made a biennial visit to the Okanogan County Fair on opening day as part of the committee’s evaluating and rating procedure.

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