Christiani said she was also pleased by the number of vendors that participated in the agriculture festival. (The Enterprise/John L. Braese)
By John L. Braese
ONTARIO – The animals have been sold, the vendors are counting the money, and the volunteers are taking a much-needed rest.
The 107th annual Malheur County Fair came to a close last Saturday, Aug. 6.
“There were a few hiccups, but all in all, it was a successful fair,” said first-year manager Lynelle Christiani. “We have some things we need to remedy.”
The most prominent issue for some fairgoers was the fact there were no carnival rides.
Christiani said she heard both pros and cons about the lack of a carnival.
“Many parents were happy the kids were not exposed to some of the things the carnival brings in,” she said. “Food vendors reported business was down without a carnival.”
Christiani said organizers are already working on finding a carnival for next year, “one that parents don’t have to worry about.”
Meanwhile, Christiani was pleased with the vendor participation and other aspects of the fair.
“I was really pleased with the commercial building, but the Red Barn was down somewhat,” she said. “We are starting work on bringing in interest from the kids to fill the Red Barn next year.
“The fair is about 4H and FFA participation, and we want them to be more involved in the Red Barn.”
She was particularly excited about one event that combined an old tradition with a new attraction to bring in the crowds.
“The rodeo was tremendous and the stands were filled,” said Christiani. “And for a Tuesday night, the sled pull, in its first time at the fair, pulled in about 600 people in the stands. That was just great.”
One concern for the manager and her crew was the scarcity of on-site medical personnel at the fair this year. In recent years, law enforcement, medical personnel and fire departments were present during the fair; a Public Safety Day allowed the public a chance to be up close and personal with these departments. This year, only Vale EMT personnel were on site, and only for one day of the fair.
“I spoke with other entities and they just would not donate their time,” Christiani said. “This is the fair, and everyone needs to be involved.”
The new manager is ready to move ahead.
“We know there is lots of room for improvement for next year’s fair,” said Christiani. “I think we are going the right direction and look forward to next year and the improvements we have scheduled.”