EDITORIAL | Whidbey Island Fair is a must-attend

The Whidbey Island Area Fair has something for everyone.

It is, quite simply, a must-not-miss.

The nostalgia runs thick as molasses at the community-run fair, which takes place Aug. 15-18 in Langley. Grab your kids or grandkids and spend an afternoon exploring. Or grab your sweetheart for a special day in the land of cotton candy and lemonade.

This is the 89th year of the fair, which once upon a time was called the Island County Fair. This year’s theme is “Blossoms to Awesome.”

The memory-making opportunities are impressive. Egg-in-spoon races and pole climbing. Chicken and goat olympics. Hula hoop and pie-eating contests.

Pony rides. A straw maze. Log rolling demonstrations. Deano the Clown. Something billed mysteriously as an “Over-the-hill swine contest.”

Of course, there are plenty of animals to meet, thanks to 4-H. Learn about the animals that are being raised on the island, from traditional barnyard critters to alpacas, bunnies and even guinea pigs.

Make sure to check out the chicken house, where children crowd around a giant incubator to watch chicks emerging from eggs.

As always, there will be plenty of great music from some awesome local talent. This year Oak Harbor’s Tambourine Sky will raise the metaphorical and melodic roof.

Away from the barns, the air is perfumed with the sentimental mixture of funnel-cake sweetness, burgers on the grill and barbecue smoke. A cornucopia of fair food and ethnic fare is available at affordable prices.

No fair is complete without rides on the Midway — the Ferris wheel at night is spectacular — and contests involving darts and balloons.

The annual parade starts in downtown Langley at 10 a.m. Saturday and hits the Midway about 15 minutes later.

For those who aren’t big spenders, there’s some great free events, including a Lego contest and a veggie critter workshop.

Children ages 12 and under can take part in the passport program, which is a non-judged educational journey through the fairgrounds. Those who present a completed passport receive a special prize.

Those who can’t get enough of the fair can even camp nearby, on a first-come basis.

Whether you’re a fair regular or neophyte, visit the community get-together and have a great time. Just remember to wear sunscreen because it’s always sunny at the fair.

For a schedule of events and highlights of this year’s event, check out our special section on page 11.

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