Thursday, September 18, 2014

Granges and The Washington State Fair

On July 31, 2014 the Harbor History Museum posted a blog on the Gig Harbor Grange #445, and it talked about the successes it had at the Valley Fair. The Valley Fair was started in 1900 in Puyallup, and for years has been referred to as the Puyallup Fair. In 1913, the "Valley Fair" was changed to, or renamed, Western Washington Fair Association, although informally Puyallup Fair because of the town in which is was, and is, held. In 2013, the name was changed to the "Washington State Fair". Fairs are called "state fairs" when they are the largest fair in the state; and in 1975 Washington State Fair was ranked as the tenth largest fair in the USA.

Every September I spend my time in Puyallup, as do many others, working at the Fair. The attraction of fairs is that they provide an outlet for many in agriculture to show off their animals and their crops. Of course, there also is the pie contest, although today, it has evolved into much more than just pies.

While the adults gather and talk about their successes or failures, they also have an opportunity to socialize. This is where the Granges play an important part too. Everyone has a day off for the back-bending hard work and long hours involved in farming and raising animals. Even the children get a day off as their participate in showing their animal, or produce, or arts. And of course, there are always a few games or rides to take advantage of during their stay at the fair.

Washington State Fair is an official state host of both the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and the 4-H (head,heart, hands and health = 4 H). The participation of these two groups of young people is what really captures me and is the highlight of my vision of the fair.

The young people show everything from dogs, cats, rabbits, cavies, poultry, beef, pigs and goats, llamas, horses, and more. The Pig Palace attracts everyone, old and young, who spend time watching the baby piglets and seeing how much they grow in so a short time - it is noticeable in 17 days. Or waiting for the pregnant sow to give birth to her litter, drove, or drift.
Some of the 14 4-week old piglets

But don't overlook the 4 H Home Arts, High Arts, Education and Campfire exhibits. These young people are extremely talented in so many ways.

Back to the Granges! I thought if you saw a few of the 2014 Grange displays, you might better understand the sense of pride and bragging rights the men, women and children of the Granges have earned. This year there are only eleven Granges represented at the Fair (so many are closing due to lack of members) but their displays are fantastic. The Agricultural exhibit includes individual displays as well. Below are the individual Granges entries.
  1. Ford's Prairie Humptulips

  2. OHOP
  3. Thurston County Pomona
  4. Lewis
  5. East Hill
  6. Waller Road
  7. Skagit County Pomona
  8. Collins
  9. McMillan

    10. Mason County Pomona 

    11. Meridian
Pumpkin Squash Showcase

Right now, as of Wednesday evening, the People's choice voting is 8 for Waller Road, 3 for Skagit County Pomona and 1 for Collins. Only two more days for votes.
I've included some other random photos just to provide a better understanding of this aspect of the Washington State Fair.
But never overlook the Carnival which today plays an important part as well, and of course there are the three days of rodeo which starts the fair off.
Mark your calendars to come join us in 2015 as we "DO THE PUYALLUP" 

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1 comment:

  1. People's Choice 2014 were: 1st Place Waller Road Grange; 2nd Place Skagit Valley Pomona; and with Collins, OHOP and Ford's Prairie Humptulips all getting one vote each.