Festival kicks off with edible bacon in politicians’ offerings

Food booths try for symbolism, but everybody’s just having their annual Lakefair fun

Staff writerJuly 18, 2013 

Wednesday was not only the first day of Capital Lakefair but also a showdown between two political parties and their new gut-busting concessions.

At the Thurston County Republican Party’s booth, there’s the Baconator: a hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried.

“We’ve had a lot of takers,” said Zeke Lyen, chairman of the Thurston County Republican Party. “People really, really like the idea.”

The adjacent Democrats’ booth, not to be outdone, is offering the Liberty Burger: a sirloin burger infused with smoked cottage bacon.

“It makes a delicious, delicious burger without the mess of having to cook bacon,” said Joe Hyer, a former Olympia councilman and Thurston County Democrat.

It’s part of a perhaps not-so-friendly culinary rivalry between the two parties. Lyen said he refers burger fans to the St. Martin’s University burger booth rather than the Democrats’ booth, which serves the staple Demoburgers. Hyer joked that the Democrats’ booth is bigger because his party is more inclusive.

The two parties occupy a row of nonprofit food booths along Columbia Street between Legion Way and Seventh Avenue. It’s a tradition dear to Dick Pust, the longtime former KGY radio personality who said he probably went to the first Lakefair in 1958, though he doesn’t remember it.

“It really, in many ways, hasn’t changed at all, but in other ways it has,” he said. The biggest change, he observed, was the Lakefair queen. The festival queen used to be crowned during the festival, but the coronation was moved up to February this year so the entire royal court could participate in festivals for the whole year.

“It’s a festival for everyone,” Pust said.

Even Lakefair’s royal court was enjoying the fair food while Executive Director Bob Barnes looked on. Almost everything went off without a hitch, but the rides weren’t operating at noon because a transformer blew, he said. The rides began whirring about 12:30 p.m.

Barnes was enjoying the weather, with overcast skies and mild temperatures in the upper 60s.

“This is perfect,” he said. “We like this.”

Those temperatures will be creeping up as the festival continues through Sunday. Temperatures are expected to hover around 80 for the rest of the week, depending on when the clouds burn off.

Barnes encouraged people to come down for four more days of entertainment. The festival is open from noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, to 11 p.m. on Friday and until the very end of Sunday.

Thursday is wristband day — $30 gets you as many rides as you can stand. Saturday is Kid’s Day in Sylvester Park, with a host of activities, as well as the Lakefair Grand Parade at 5 p.m. Sunday, of course, means fireworks as the festival ends at dusk with explosions in the night sky.

on the web

For ongoing coverage of Lakefair events, go to theolympian.com

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 mbatcheldor@ theolympian.com @MattBatcheldor

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