Enumclaw (King County) Fair on the horizon

The days are counting down and the details are being finalized.

Everything seems to be coming together neatly as Enumclaw prepares to offer its first fair, a three-day event planned for July 16, 17 and 18.

“The majority of things are already planned,” fair manager Joan Lewis said. “Contracts with vendors have been signed and we’re hiring staff.

“Of course, there are always some last-minute things that need to be taken care of.”

The recent history of the King County Fair has been well documented, as the event slipped from a popular attraction that found the grounds jammed with visitors to a poorly-attended shadow of its former self.

Finally, then-County Executive Ron Sims pulled all funding for the fair from his proposed 2009 budget. Amid public outcry, money was restored and the city agreed to take over operation of the fair on a one-year trial basis.

The official name this year is Enumclaw’s King County Fair and the theme is “Let’s Go Wild.”

Lewis said steps have been taken to return many of the popular fair features.

The most visible attraction will be a carnival. A year ago, as the county scaled back the fair and offered it as an agricultural event, the carnival was scrapped.

Carnival tickets will be available at a discounted price by making a purchase prior to opening day through the Web site, www.enumclawskingcountyfair.com. Click “carnival” under the “entertainment” link.

Also back is the Critter Crowning, a traditional event in which kids enter their animals in competition to see which gets to reign over the fair. The format is different this time around, Lewis said, explaining that each of the local 4-H groups was encouraged to choose one animal to be entered. There could be as many as 14 pets in the running, she said.

The Critter Crowning will be part of the opening-day ceremonies, taking place at 10 a.m. on the 16th.

This year’s fair visitors also will find a steady stream of entertainers and more vendors than were at last year’s event.

Admission is free, but the city will be charging $5 for parking.

The fair has been getting a lot of mileage out a new mascot, the Fair Bear. The costumed bear began popping up during Enumclaw’s Easter egg hung and has since appeared before the King County Council, at the reopening ceremony for the Kummer Bridge, at a Seattle Storm game, at the Buckley Log Show parade and Kent’s Cornucopia Days and during the weekend Stars and Stripes parade in Enumclaw.

To comment on this story view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.