EDITOR'S COLUMN | Volunteers made the fair a great success

The fair was pretty darn good this year. The events were fun, the exhibits impressive and the rides a blast. I ate a genuine buffalo burger — or so the vendor claimed — bumped into friends and talked politics, rocked out to live music and got my fingers sticky eating my first bag of cotton candy since I was teenager.

I haven’t attended annually for decades like many on South Whidbey, so I suppose I’m no expert, but from a new guy’s perspective it was everything one would expect from a county fair.

It wasn’t perfect, and as usual there were complaints about this or that, but none were show stoppers. Chalk them up as the price tag of a massive four-day event orchestrated primarily by a small army of self-sacrificing volunteers, a group to which this year I can proudly associate myself.

My bragging rights are really pretty limited, however, as I only spent two hours staffing the photography exhibit in the arts building on Saturday. A paltry contribution to be sure, when stacked up with the days, weeks and months of sweat put in by others.

For example, the superintendents — organizers of specific exhibits or events — worked especially hard. David Welton and Kim Tinuviel, who ran the photography contest, pitched in more than 40 hours. To put that into perspective, that’s an entire work week for most.

Then there are the veritable rock stars of the bunch, volunteers like Timothy Hull. For the past two years he’s restored, set up and run the history booth, all for altruistic reasons and all for free. He told me this weekend that he was glad The Record’s recent story about the history booth didn’t focus on him, that the angle was on what was being preserved and why. That’s what is important, not him, he said.

Wow! How awesome is this guy?

Finally, the fair association deserves some long overdue kudos. They have the tough job of managing a much loved community event, one steeped with 90 years of history and tradition, and perceived offenses, such as their audacity earlier this year to be involved in a vision for a fairgrounds that could be, makes it sometimes easy to forget all they do on our behalf. Like so many other volunteers who help put on the fair, year after year, they work so we can play. Only they do it largely behind the scenes, out of the spotlight. By anyone’s standards, that’s pretty cool.

So here's to a great event, and a job well done.


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