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Idaho Voices

Music, cars, food and games put Athol Daze among finest of fairs

Sun., Aug. 22, 2010

Sunshine bathed the parade route as the city of Athol celebrated its 101st birthday.

As always, a large gathering of spectators lined the parade route where a myriad of entries proudly marched past. A pickup band consisting of members of the Timberlake/Northern Lakes/BLM firefighting units marched to a first-place prize in the band category. Close in second place was the always popular Albeni Falls Pipe and Drum Corps.

The community float category was a runaway for the animal control folks. It seems they had a cage filled with children. One wag was heard to say, “That’s a concept worth pursuing.”

The classic car entries were numerous and classy, but only one could come in first: A 1967 GT500 Shelby Mustang owned by Rod Campbell rolled away with that one. A close second was Roger Haines with his ’57 T-Bird.

In the park following the parade, the crowds experienced a fair second to none. Highlighting the event was the well-deserved Citizen of the Year award to Susan Wachter. Wachter can always be found around the Athol Community Center helping out, subbing for city clerk Sally Hansen and generally doing everything that needs to get done around City Hall. She also prepared baskets that were auctioned during the fair.

No country fair can be held without some sort of pie contest. Winners of the pie-baking contest (first names only available) were Thelma’s strawberry-rhubarb pie in first followed by Wanda’s cherry pie Ilene’s applesauce/walnut pastry.

The kids’ largest and most popular activity was the money-in-the-straw hunt. A large tarp was spread out with straw and seeded with coins. Age groups were separated so the enthusiasm of the older ones wouldn’t bury the younger miners.

For the adventuresome, the fair had camel rides. Jennine Christ of Athol trains camels for owners all over the country.

• In other area news, a proud bunch of Babe Ruth players, Idaho state champions for the 15-and-under group, returned from the regional playoffs in Klamath Falls, Ore. The Bayview Whitecaps finished third against teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon. They were eliminated by the eventual champions from Kelso, Wash. Kelso now advances to the finals in Arkansas. The Bayview team lost to Seattle and Alberta after winning its first game against Montana, then beat last year’s champs from Oregon before being eliminated.

Before the team left for the regionals, Ralph Jones, a one-man chamber of commerce, put together a raffle and a food fair at his cafe to raise money for the trip and the weeklong stay in motels. More than $3,000 was raised in addition to the one-day car wash in Rathdrum, which netted more than $1,000. When asked about next year, Coach Kim Rogstad said, “We’ll probably skip the intermediate age groups and compete in the 18-and-under division.” Ya gotta love their confidence.

Contact correspondent Herb Huseland at Read his blog at

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