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Celebrate Homegrown replaces King County Fair

Keeping alive the long-standing tradition of a county fair in Enumclaw, the city and King County have joined forces and will offer Celebrate Homegrown in August.

The gradual demise of the King County Fair has been well documented, including last year’s edition, which had the city running the show thanks to a $300,000 gift from the county. When any sort of financial assistance was axed from the county’s 2010 budget, all thoughts of a fair were dashed.

A goal lingered, however, of putting on an event that would help local 4-H and FFA members qualify for the state fair. Without the Enumclaw show, they were left out in the cold with no way to qualify for the big Puyallup Fair.

When King County scraped together $50,000 and the result is Celebrate Homegrown, planned for Aug. 12-14 at the Enumclaw Expo Center. Members of the Enumclaw City Council gave their blessing, with some reservations, during their April 26 meeting.

The agricultural community is largely in charge of putting on their activities, according to Kristen Damazio, coordinator of Expo Center events. To bring more people to the fair, Damazio’s task was to put together events that would appear to a broader audience.

“We’re focusing on the local talent in our community, from agriculture to entertainment,” she said. “We’re keeping it local and going back to our roots.”

Aside from the 4-H and FFA competitons, Celebrate Homegrown will include quilt and flower shows, a farmers’ market, car show, beer garden, arts and crafts and a special Kids’ Zone, featuring fun for the younger set.

Friday, Damazio finalized details with a regional representative of the International Chili Society for a chili cook-off to be staged on the grounds.

“We’re still evolving day by day,” she said.

In looking to highlight local talent, Damazio still is looking for area artists and crafters who would like to participate. They can get involved by phoning Damazio at 360-615-5631. The same goes for anyone will to volunteer their time to help put on the event.

In approving the event, the council’s primary concern involved dollars and cents. Celebrate Homegrown is expected to generate expenses of slightly more than $120,000. According to the budget presented to council, the event will show a profit if everything goes as planned.

The budget was built with an estimated attendance of 11,000. Admission will be $5 for adults and $1 for ages 15 and younger. Parking will be free.

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