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Dems flood fair association with new members

It appears that a new and possibly majority voting block is about to join the Island County Fair Association.

In the wake of a controversy that pitted the Island County Democrats against fair management over free speech issues and the location of a booth distributing campaign literature, about 20 South Whidbey Democrats showed up at the Island County Fair Board meeting Monday night to pay their $5 each to become voting members of the association.

Led into the meeting by Island County Democrat chairwoman Grethe Cammermeyer -- who had called for her fellow Democrats to show up at the meeting and join the fair association -- the group was part of one of the largest crowds at a fair board meeting in recent years. Cammermeyer has been outspoken since the fair ended over fair management's crackdown on certain signs and literature displayed at the Democrats' food booth. Her presence at the meeting, along with her fellow party members, seemed to indicate their desire to get involved in fair politics, which have been near uproarious for the past year.

"It was a concern," she said of the political situation at the fair.

Those who do sign on as association members between now and next Monday's fair association meeting will be eligible to vote for new fair board members in October. Several seats will be open for a board election, which has been scheduled for next month.

Cammermeyer said she hopes to bring even more people to the association meeting and to have them sign on as members. At present, the association -- which operates the fair on the publicly owned Island County Fairgrounds -- has 71 members.

At Monday's board meeting, those filling out membership forms were welcomed by board members. At the same time, however, board secretary Sandey Brandon told those in attendance who were not association members that they were there "as a courtesy" of the board.

The comment got members of the 30-plus strong gallery at the meeting passing around a copy of the Island County Code, in which it is noted "Generally, all meetings of the (fair) association and board of directors shall be open to public attendance and input as is practicable."

Over the past year, the fair board has shed a number of members, while at the same time several longtime volunteers have quit the fair under what they have described as being unfriendly circumstances. The result has been several changes in the leadership of the fair board and openings on the board that require filling at the start of the next fair association year in October. Most of the fair board members are elected by members of the fair association. Three are appointed by the Board of Island County Commissioners.

Attend the meeting

The Island County Fair Association will meet Monday at 7 p.m. the 4-H Building at the fairgrounds.

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