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Fairgrounds are ready for 2001 Island County Fair

"David Beck unloads a box from a trailer holding a golf cart to be used by Fire District 3 during the Island County Fair. Fair participants, volunteers, and employees finished painting and decorating fair buildings Monday and Tuesday.Matt Johnson / staff photoIsland County FairWednesday-Sunday, all dayTicket prices: $3 Wednesday after 3 p.m.; $6 daily general admission, Thursday through Sunday; $20 season ticket; $4 daily for seniors, military, and juniors; $4 for 4-H exhibitors; $5 for open class animal exhibitors; free for children under 5.Fairgrounds fairly well prepared for fairMighty Mutts 4-H club members brushed the last coat of white paint onto the dog arena Monday morning while sheep owners tacked up woolen sweaters in the sheep barn and dozens of other people scrubbed, swept, and otherwise readied the Island County Fairgrounds for its biggest week of the year.Two days before the opening of the 2001 fair, the people responsible for doing everything from packing frozen hamburger buns in freezers at concession stands to erecting canopies for off-midway vendors seemed to be responding to a whisper in the light breeze that said The fair is coming. The fair is coming.Fair events start at 7 a.m. Wednesday when the equine-inclined display green colts in the first of an almost endless list of animal and livestock shows. Animals will dominate the Wednesday schedule until late afternoon, when Dean Hatt starts off the fair's musical entertainment with karaoke on the Midway stage.From there, the fair will roll through Sunday evening, when comedians Williams and Ree, better known as The Indian and The White Guy, close out the fun with their act.Though many fair visitors will come for a single act, like Williams and Ree, or for an afternoon of rides, curly fries, art shows, and animals, some of the people working the fair will be on the fairgrounds almost every minute of each of the five-day schedule.Jerry Beck, the fire prevention officer for Fire District 3, will spend most of that time operating the district's Fire House, a realistic fire simulator that teaches both kids and adults how to escape a smoke-filled building. What spare time he has beyond that, he said, will go toward driving fair grand marshal Ray Gabelein, Sr. around the grounds in an electric golf cart.I will be available at all times to give rides to a certain gentleman, Beck said at Monday night's fair board meeting.Also signed up for the long haul are VFW members Glen Nichols and Tom Arhontas. On Monday, they scrubbed and polished the VFW's Midway food booth. Arhontas said he and other volunteers working the booth are preparing for thousands of hungry fairgoers by stocking the booth with hot dogs, hamburgers, chili, chips and soda pop.Even the Island County Fair Board was working up to the last moment. Board members met Monday night to find a poultry superintendent and discuss a proposed fund-raising sale to be put on by the South Whidbey Kiwanis Club. Board member Eva Mae Gabelein said she would ask former Congressman Jack Metcalf to keep an eagle eye on the fair's prize chickens.The board also reaffirmed its decision to forego Island Transit bus service to the fair on Sunday. Board member Sandey Brandon said the fair will not only save the $2,760 it laid out last year for the service itself, but the $600 it paid to publish the Sunday bus schedule. Divided between the 695 Sunday riders the service attracted last year, the fair paid out about $4.80 per rider.However, the Langley Chamber of Commerce has stepped in to provide free shuttle bus service Sunday between the ferry dock, the high school parking lot and fairgrounds (see accompanying story).The fair board will meet every day during the fair at 8 a.m. in the HOPE building. "

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