‘Barns Come Alive in 2005’

Jesse Keck and Brad Bilyeu push a pig back to its pen after the 4-H livestock auction.   - Brian Kelly
Jesse Keck and Brad Bilyeu push a pig back to its pen after the 4-H livestock auction.
— image credit: Brian Kelly

Although the total attendance figure is still being tabulated, it looks like this year’s Island County Fair was one of the most successful in recent years.

Fair administrator Sandey Brandon said this year’s total attendance should be known by the end of the month after wristband sales are factored in.

Even so, there are early signs of success.

“Our gates are up over last year. All of our food vendors reported better sales,” Brandon said, adding that non-food vendors also said they had increased sales.

Last year’s fair drew 23,092 visitors.

This year’s attendance is expected to top that, thanks in part to a week of almost perfect summer weather.

Brandon said this year’s fair was trouble free. There were no problems with fairgoers, and no reported cases of heat stroke or weather-related illness.

Large crowds came out for the shows this year on the midway, and the offerings included 1960s San Francisco rockers Big Brother and the Holding Company. Foghat also made a return appearance, the band’s first in Langley since 1997.

The Timebenders, a regional favorite that has grown in popularity because of its appearances at the Island County Fair, was also a hit.

“We like dancing to the Timebenders every year,” said Erin Hilton, 17, of Clinton.

Brandon said it looked like some visitors just came to see the entertainment at the fair, like when Big Brother played Friday night. The $6 fair ticket made the shows an entertainment a bargain.

“All three nights we had great entertainment and we had good crowds,” Brandon said.

“The bands were very happy with the house. Foghat was extremely happy with the reception they got,” she said.

Brandon reminded exhibitors who won awards that premium checks — prize money for ribbon winners — can be picked up at the fair office.

Exhibits that have not been retrieved from the fairgrounds should also be picked up between 9 a.m. to noon.

Cynthia Woolbright contributed to this report.

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