Whidbey Island Fair – 2021

It was only two yeas ago, but it seems more like a century; or at least it must feel that way for many because after a one-year hiatus the Whidbey Island Fair was so popular that two lines of dozens, maybe even over a hundred, people was a constant feature at a peak Saturday afternoon period. It’s been mentioned a few times that this summer’s parades, festivals, dances, and – yes – fairs have been busy.

As usual, the fairgrounds near downtown Langley were the site. Originally, the Fair was hosted nearer the center of the island, in Coupeville; but shifted decades ago and seem to have no tendency to shift back. Instead of people arriving by horseback or rowboat or by walking along low-tide beaches, now almost everyone arrives via cars that fill fund-raising parking lots that are temporary dust bowls, or in a herringbone stitch of bumpers along the local roads. Arrive early, be patient – or be lucky enough to find a way to walk or bicycle to the event. Include trucks with livestock trailers, and food supplies for vendors and it becomes obvious why the local speed limit drops to 25 mph for several days.

Another way of looking at and celebrating the Fair is that people care enough and the community is strong enough that when we finally get a chance to gather again, we do so enthusiastically.

At the same time, respect those who prefer to wear a mask. Social distancing can be a challenge. It can be heartening to see the kids run and play, wander through the displays, eat from food stands that represent the entire spectrum from healthy to decadent, and enjoy and wonder at the lights and the music.

Be safe. Have fun. Nicely done.

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