"Fair starts sunny, Friday brings rain"

"Photo: Hannah McConnaughey, age 2, needs a little persuasion from mom Ashley McConnaughey, left, and Island County Sheriff's Dept. volunteer Jean Hoover to pose for a photograph taken by Ned Babcock, another volunteer wielding the instant camera. The photo is part of the free emergency Child ID Kit being made available at the mobile sheriff's office at the fairgrounds, where kids can also have fingerprints taken and get weighed and measured.Joan Soltys/staff photoRibbons adorn the winning entries in buildings and barns, 4-H judging is under way, the aroma of barbecued beef and grilled burgers waft over the fairgrounds, and the new carnival rides of Paradise Amusements have launched their debut. Everything at the Island County Fair is humming even if, by Friday morning, it had become somewhat damp. The weather forecast calls for more clouds today giving way to partial sunshine tomorrow.Thursday's opening was marked by warmth and sunshine, and visitors took advantage of the fair weather to be the first to visit the exhibits, watch the antics of Deano the Clown, hear the mellow notes of saxman Danny Ward and dance to the blues beat of Junkyard Jane.It's fabulous, said fair maven Eva Mae Gabelein as she presided over the first of the kids cake decorating contests at the Fiddle Faddle Farm. All the volunteers have made it so wonderful. It makes you want to cry.Gabelein was about to award the winners in the contest gift certificates from Kiichli's Bagel Bakery, one of the numerous businesses whose generosity Gabelein praised.I would just walk in to a shop and the owner would say, 'Oh, it's fair time,' and make a sponsorship contribution, she said.The cake contest drew lots of youngsters, as did the other Fiddle Faddle Farm activities: baby animals to pet, puppet shows, pirates and parrots, pie eating and bubble gum blowing contests. Elsewhere on the fairgrounds 4-H members were competing in fitting and showing events, animal judging, Western games and a mini-horse exhibition. In the buildings housing agriculture, home arts, fine arts, the displays showcase award-winning vegetables and fruit, baked goods, jars of preserves, floral exhibits, needlework, paintings and photography.As always, the fair draws people from all over the island as well as more far-flung places: Miles Milff and Alex Wallace, both 7, are from Langley, and have been coming to the fair since forever. They were waiting somewhat impatiently for the noon start of the carnival rides, especially the new Titanic and Iron Man. But Miles said his favorite part of the fair was the ferris wheel, because it spins around. He also entered the baking competition with a carrot cake: It's shaped in the form of a carrot, and I colored the coconut orange for the top, he said. Daisy Dolan and Anabella Hochschild are visiting their grandmother at Sandy Point but came from London, England, by way of New York and Seattle. Wherever they were from, the visitors were making the most of the fair's first days: There was brisk business at food booths selling elephant ears, scones, caramel corn, and sno cones. Fair favorites continue to be Lions Club corn on the cob, onion burgers and corn dogs and curly fries, German sausages from the Knights of Columbus, salmon and ribs barbecued by the members of South Whidbey Kiwanis.Many parents have been taking advantage of a new service offered at the Island County Sheriff's mobile office, providing child ID kits that include a polaroid photograph taken on the spot and optional fingerprinting. And right next door, Island County firefighters are inviting kids to enter a house that is filled with smoke to teach them about escaping from a fire.Every fair has its mishaps, of course. The talk of the fair Friday morningwas the escape of three cats from the 4-H cat area on Thursday night. Michael Clyburn caught one around midnight and one apparently returned voluntarily, but a Siamese was still missing as of mid-morning. Jan Coffman, 4-H overseer, asks that anyone who finds it bring it to the 4-H Building.The rain was surprisingly heavy before noon on Friday. Everyone is walking around with wet heads, and a lot of people have plastic bags over their heads, said Sandey Brandon, a Fair Board member. Clear plastic bags are the fashion of the day.This weekend at the fair promises to be at least as much fun as the first two days, with more kids events, animal competitions, the famous Barnyard Scramble, lots of music and big name entertainers.Weekend HighlightsSaturdayFair Parade 10 a.m. in downtown LangleyUgly Truck contest 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Arena4-H Livestock sale Noon at the grandstandsMagician Jeff Evans 12:30 on the MidwayBunyon Busters Log Show 1 p.m., arenaDiaper Derby 3:30 p.m., Fiddle Faddle Farm4-H Western Games 5-7 p.m., ArenaArm wrestling 5:30 and 8 p.m., MidwayDance to the Timebenders 7-10 p.m., midwaySundayChurch service 9 a.m. on the MidwayMost Beautiful animal contests 11 a.m., Arena4-H Parade of Champions noon, ArenaDog Agility Obstacle Course 1 p.m., Dog arenaGeneration Gap Big Band 3 p.m., MidwayBarnyard Scramble 4 p.m., ArenaThe Lovin' Spoonful 5 p.m., MidwaySwamp Mama Johnson 7:30 p.m., Midway "

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