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It’s fair time: Locals elated to start Grant County Fair 2021 after missing it last year

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 17, 2021

By Cheryl Schweizer Columbia Basin Herald

MOSES LAKE — The Grant County Fair was set to open its gates this morning, and on Monday morning, people were getting ready.

At the Ephrata Lions Club booth, members were coaxing the old — very old — ice machine into working condition.

Elijah and Olive Ames waited to enter their cookies in the baking competition.

Exhibitors in the Commercial Building were testing video and audio connections and hanging their displays, and people were dusting off the display racks in the Agriculture Building. At the Moses Lake Lions Club booth, the crew was trying to load tape into the cash register.

The fair and rodeo were canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and many of the volunteers, judges and exhibitors were glad to see them back for 2021.

The fair runs through Saturday at the Grant County Fairgrounds, 3953 Airway Dr. NE. The Moses Lake Roundup runs there simultaneously, with two nights of Demo Derby, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the rodeo Thursday through Saturday.

Roylene Scoggin was helping hang the quilt show in her capacity as the division’s co-superintendent.

“I love the fair,” she said. “I’ve been doing the fair since I was 9.”

Cindy Kalamakis and her family have been volunteering at the Flower Building for about 30 years. They missed the fair when it was gone.

“A major loss in our family last summer,” she said.

Pam Lewison, superintendent in the Ag Building, also was glad to see the fair was back.

“This is part of our life on an annual basis,” she said. “This place is part of our family.”

The Moses Lake Lions Club also felt the loss in 2020, especially in the club pocketbook.

William West was part of the crew struggling with the cash register. The fair is work, he said, but club members were glad to see it’s back.

“This is our biggest fundraiser. This is how we fund our programs,” he said.

Cancellation of the fair blew a hole in the Lions Club budget, he said, but people still needed Lions Club programs.

Exhibitors were just as glad to see the fair return. Laurie Osgood dropped off her entries for the floriculture competition, which she grew with the help of her two grandsons. Right now the boys like helping grandma with her flowers, but she’s not sure how long that will last, she said.

Along with the bouquets of sunflowers and other blossoms, Osgood entered one cosmo, citing the exhibit catalog’s invitation for gardeners to enter any flowers they deem worthy.

“I feel like my cosmo is worthy,” she said.

Members of the Ephrata Lions Club were performing emergency surgery on their ice machine, which in its way is a fair staple. The massive machine dates back to the 1930s and, according to legend, was used in the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.

Scoggin said the quilt show drew 85 entries, about the same number as 2019. Kalamakis said advance entries in the floriculture division were down compared to 2019, and many regular exhibitors said the extremely hot weather this summer had damaged their flowers.

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