If you’re like a lot of people, you probably answered “fireworks” or maybe “the parade” or “rides” or even “traffic.”
But for the Capitalarians – the group that puts on the five-day festival that kicks off Wednesday and brings all of the above to downtown Olympia – the answer that comes first is just as likely to be “service.”
“It’s about family; it’s about friends; it’s about the community and supporting it, giving back to your community,” said Bob Barnes, executive director of the 55-year-old festival that takes place around Capitol Lake and fills downtown with an estimated 200,000 people.
“It’s like a big class reunion year after year, or a big family celebration,” Barnes said. “Each year, there are new faces — little kids watching the parade, the new young princesses and their families.”
Each year, the festival’s president selects a charity to support as part of the festival’s mission. This year, it’s the YWCA’s Other Bank, which supplies low-income people with necessary items that can’t be purchased with food stamps: toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste and the like.
“I was in that situation myself at one time, a long, long time ago,” said Stan Guyer, president of the festival. “I could have used something like this at that time, but I didn’t know anything about it.
“It’s a charity that doesn’t seem to get the publicity that others do.”
Guyer heard about the bank from his wife, Jacquelyn Guyer, who works as a caregiver for home-bound people and sometimes visits the bank on their behalf.
Donations will be accepted in the fair’s arts and crafts area. (For a complete list of items needed, go to ywcaofolympia.org.) Cash donations are welcome, too.
Guyer grew up in Olympia and remembers always wanting to be a Capitalarian.
“I pretty much grew up with Lakefair,” he said. “When I was in junior high school and grade school, my folks and I would go down to Lakefair. We would spend a whole day there on Saturday and go on the rides and see the parade, and on Sunday, we would watch the fireworks.
“I thought how wonderful it would be to wear that blue jacket,” he said. “When I got the opportunity to do it, I couldn’t pass it up.”
What: The 55th annual Capital Lakefair — happening again this year without the traditional boating on Capitol Lake — is a five-day celebration filled with music, food, carnival rides, shows, fireworks and a grand parade.
When: Noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon to 11 p.m. July 20 and 21; noon to midnight July 22
Where: Capitol Lake, Olympia
Cost: Admission is free; take money for rides, games, food, etc.
More information: 360-943-7344 or www.lakefair.org
Noon-12:30 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
4-5:30 p.m. Serious Mak (hip-hop)
6:30-10 p.m. Teen Night: Battle of the Bands
1-3 p.m. U.S. Navy command cutter Old Man IV arrival, Percival Landing
2:30-3:30 p.m. Motor Car Rock
4-5:30 p.m. Hook Me Up (jazz)
7-8:30 p.m. Queen’s Coronation
8:30-10 p.m. Brown Edition (funk)
9-2:30 p.m. 50s Plus Entertainment
5:30 -9:30 p.m. Car Show, Marathon Park
Noon-4 p.m. Kids Day, Sylvester Park
5-7:30 p.m. Lakefair Grand Parade, Capitol Way
7-9 p.m. South Sound Voice
10 p.m. Lakefair Grand Fireworks Display