The aroma of the corn dogs, elephant ears and kettle corn beckoned people from all over South Whidbey on Thursday for the opening of the 2013 Whidbey Island Area Fair.
Diane Divelbess, president of the Island County Fair Association, opened the 89th annual event to a scarce audience at the Eva Mae Gabelein Midway Stage, though a long line of people waited for ride tickets.
Divelbess reminded fair-goers of new additions this year including a revamped fiber arts area, the opening of the Pole Building and for those of age, a beer garden.
“We will do everything to get you to part with your money,” she joked.
Saxman Danny Ward played the national anthem and master of ceremonies Louie Foxx entertained the crowd as they waited to purchase their tickets for rides.
Foxx surprised children with an “ancient mosquito” he received from a previous mentor.
Raven Almquist, 11, was the first one brave enough to look at the bug. She described it as round and beautiful.
“If you would eat it, it would be crunchy,” she said.
Raven said she likes bugs and thought this one looked like a big flea.
Booking and Stage Manager Kimi Shintaku said she tried to bring a lot of variety to the stage this year including Foxx and comedian Steve the Pretty Good. Steve roams the fair throughout the day to entertain the crowd. She said she wasn’t a fan of Elvis impersonators until she saw Danny Vernon’s “Illusion of Elvis.”
The fair offered food selection from all over including Southern, Mexican and noodles.
“We had a good day, the food vendors were happy,” said Sandey Brandon, Fair administrator.
The day was packed with entry judging contests and various demonstrations located throughout the fair.
Celia Jacobson-Ross, 10, prepared to show her goat, Lavender, Thursday morning. Celia said this is her sixth year in the fair and that she’s looking to showing off Lavender.
“I get money for it, that’s fun,” she said.
Janelle Chang of Langley rode the slide with her son Nicholas, 3, at the fair. Nicholas went to the fair last year and has been looking forward to the 2013 event ever since.
“Every time we drove by he asked if the fair was open,” she said.
The day ended with Vernon’s “Illusion of Elvis” singing the tunes of a time past as the sun set under the lights of the YoYo ride.