LACEY – More than 10,000 people attended Saturday’s opening day of the Lacey Spring Fun Fair, a two-day community fair in its 23rd year, organizers said.
In its history, fair attendance has grown from 8,000 to about 20,000, longtime fair president Ruth Weigelt said. Its popularity at Saint Martin’s University was evident Saturday as the parking lot was full within 30 minutes of the fair opening. Weigelt and event coordinator Valerie Fluetsch encouraged those planning to attend today to carpool or take the bus in case the parking lot fills quickly again.
The fair’s popularity among families has been stoked over the years by attractions beloved by children including pony rides, trout fishing, a circus train and giant inflatables in which children can bounce around as if they were on a trampoline, organizers said. The fair this year attracted a record number of arts and crafts vendors, Weigelt said.
“People are looking for ways to make additional income,” she said.
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One of the vendors new to the fair was Silhouettes by Request, a metal-art business owned by Mike and Linda Kuest of Ritzville in Eastern Washington. Linda Kuest said they grow wheat on a 4,000-acre farm, but after a downturn in wheat prices, they decided to diversify their income by selling metal art cut with a plasma torch. Kuest acknowledged that it still is a side business for the couple, but they are up to eight shows a year, she said.
Although the couple have diversified their income, the economy still is slow, Kuest said, calling prospective buyers “very choosy.”
“Disposable income just isn’t there,” she said.
Today, the fair will have its car show, car coordinator and former Lacey Mayor Graeme Sackrison said. About 140 cars will be on display, including hot rods, custom cars and classic cars, he said. Some of the car owners are from outside the area, but most are local car owners, Sackrison said.
“They bring their hobby out and share it with the community,” he said.
As part of the show, awards such as best engine, best paint and best in show will be announced at 3 or 4 p.m., Sackrison said.
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