News

Session provides chance to sound off on fair

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

For a multitude of reasons - some real, some perhaps imagined - the King County Fair has seen interest continually dwindle and attendance plummet.

The crowds of years gone by are now just a distant memory and the once-proud fair has nearly slipped off the public radar as an attraction worth attending.

Fair officials have blamed everything from too many options for families’ expendable incomes to the weather. And cynics have wondered aloud if King County has, by design, hacked away at the fair in at attempt to get out of the business entirely.

King County Councilman Regan Dunn swears the county is committed to making the venture a success and, along with fellow Councilman Peter von Reichbauer, wants to know what the public thinks about the fair that rolls around every July.

The two will sponsor an open house, hoping to learn what the public would like to see. The session is planned for 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Enumclaw Expo Center fieldhouse; a reception begins at 6:30.

Dunn represents a sprawling district that includes Enumclaw but also stretches north to share borders with Issaquah and Bellevue. Von Reichbauer’s district includes some rural Enumclaw turf.

“We’ve received a lot of calls from citizens about the quality of the fair,” Dunn said. “From 4-H people to elected leaders.”

He remembers attending the fair in the early 1990s and was among those who showed up for this year’s edition. As an admitted booster, he knows the operation is in trouble.

“It’s been a money loser for the county but that’s because it has not been managed well,” Dunn said. “We need to make our fair fabulous again.”

The county councilman said his ultimate goal is to propose legislation “that will help right the ship.”

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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