MOSES LAKE — The cookies were being judged, the commercial exhibits were being tweaked, the carnival rides were being assembled. Volunteers were hanging quilt entries, washing the windows at the Grant County Republican and Grant County Democrat buildings, and running a final check on the ice cream machine at the Block 40 building.
There’s something going on at the Grant County Fairgrounds pretty much every week, but there’s one big week each year, and that week is here. Gates open Tuesday for the 2016 Grant County Fair, which runs through Saturday.
Some exhibits had already been set up on Monday morning, while others, like the quilt show, were still being installed. The quilts had already been judged. But the fruit and vegetable and flower classes were taking entries all day Monday, along with the baking classes.
Blue-ribbon baking requires precision, said Sherri Leighton, one of the baking judges. And fresh ingredients; she suggested baking with flour and butter purchased the day the entries are baked.
Leighton was judging cookies early Monday morning, and the plate of pinwheel sugar cookies she was evaluating had been pulled out of the oven just a few seconds too soon. About 60 seconds too soon – another minute would’ve done it, she said.
It was a little slow on the baking department Monday morning, but that was expected to change by the end of the day. Many cooks were still baking their entries Monday morning, to ensure the freshest possible entry on Monday afternoon, she said.
Raylene Scoggin and Barbara Bolton, co-superintendents of the quilt show, were hanging the youth entries Monday morning. “We had 77 quilts this year,” Scoggin said. There were so many quilts they filled one wall the entire length of the home economics building.
Volunteers did the work. Sally Goodwin and Norma Pittman were hanging a blue and green quilt on the end wall. “Cool and refreshing,” Goodwin said of the color scheme. “Maybe even Seahawky.”
The Spaceburger booth was already open Monday morning, and doing a brisk business too. The booth is a major fundraiser for the Moses Lake Lioness club; “One million (dollars) given back,” said a sign over the order window.
Most of the food booths along the midway are rented by charitable and service organizations, among them Block 40. Its soft ice cream is legendary.
So are the machines, for that matter. “We bought this machine back in 1985. It happens to be a 1972 model. And it just ticks right along,” said Richard Weitman, who’s one of the longtime volunteers working the Block 40 booth.
What keeps 40-year-old machines running every year is “actually, just a really good technician. And we have a really good technician.”
The Block 40 booth might be pretty busy – temperatures are supposed to be in the 95-plus range most of the week. The first aid booth is right inside the purple gate at the Valley Road end of the fairgrounds, in the Grant County Sheriff’s Office booth, which had the air conditioner on already.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Cole (left) and Sally Goodwin wait for pins while hanging the quilt show at the Grant County Fair Monday.