Come on. Where else is so much cuteness on display? Kids and candy. Adults and corn dogs. Teenagers and teenagers (they don’t need anything else, really.) Even if you don’t have a farm or ranch, at least you can “see where you food comes from” (to paraphrase a tweet.)
And then, there’s more.
The Whidbey Island Fair is probably the greatest concentration of diverse food options on the island, at least for a while. Lobster rolls, Hawaiian fare, buffalo burgers, competing Democrat and Republican booths, local restaurants, fundraisers – and of course, corn dogs. Oh yes, and lots of sugar and fat and salt and change the topic before yet another snack attack.
It’s easy to speed walk through the entire grounds in less than two hours. Where’s the fun in that? Meander through the 4-H barns, the veggie sculpture display, crafts, arts, and realize that despite them being in different buildings, there’s a continuum of experience and expertise. There’s artistry to working with a horse to round a barrel. Some arts will be consumed (or in the case of the sculptures eventually composted or fed to the livestock.)
The displays can slow down a speed walker, but the way to decide to visit the fair for days is to look at the names, and then look for the people. For locals, it isn’t just a bunch of booths; it’s a bunch of neighbors. You may not know everyone, but it’s easy to know more than enough of the people involved to get absorbed in what someone raised, cooked, or sewed. The quilts and clothes represent months of work (and are a handy alternative to dusty stalls.) So that’s what friends are spending their time on…
A simple walk around the grounds can take a day if you sit and talk with a friend, especially if you end up in the beer or wine gardens.
Despite it’s history, every year is different. Some of the rides and bands are familiar. New ones show up, too. Even in the commercial booths, among the ones staffed with businesses from the mainland may be entrepreneurs that just moved to the island. (Hey, Aarn Backpacks, welcome to the island! Nice pick, especially considering our neighboring mountains.)
Whether a local or a tourist, drop by for an event that’s as large or as small as you need and want – and that’s up to you. If nothing else, drop by to see the source of even more cuteness, the bunnies that escape (sometimes with help) to live on the local lands (and to tamely sit in the middle of the roads) the rest of the year.
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