Arts & Culture

Lakefair fun with a cause

It's not news that there's lots of fun to be had at Lakefair: rides, entertainment, a parade, fireworks and some of the best people- watching of the year.

But this year, the news is that Lakefair is aiming to bring fun — and comfort — into the lives of children in crisis.

The new Share a Bear campaign aims to raise enough money to give 1,000 teddy bears to South Sound fire and police departments and hospitals so that the bears can be friends in need for children caught in crisis situations.

“I collect teddy bears,” said Serry Barnes, the first lady of Lakefair. (Her husband, Bob Barnes, is Lakefair president.) “I love teddy bears, and I love children, and I believe that teddy bears and children are a good mix.”

Serry Barnes experienced how comforting a bear could be when she and her grandchildren were in a hospital waiting room while her daughter was having a severe asthma attack.

“My one granddaughter was given a teddy bear to help calm her down,” she said. “She was really little at the time.”

The bears are for sale at area grocery stores and banks and at the Lakefair information booth for $20 for two. Purchasers might choose to keep one bear and donate one to Lakefair, keep both bears, or simply donate $20 for the purchase of two bears for the cause.

“We’ve had several businesses donate money for the purchase of the bears,” said Jan Meyers, Lakefair’s administrative coordinator.

The goal: 1,000 bears. (That’s twice as many as Barnes has at home in her own collection.)

“Right now, we have enough to buy 600 or 700 bears,” Barnes said last week. “Being that this is the first year and the economy is the way it is, I feel pretty good about where we are right now.”

In honor of the new program, the Lakefair theme is Teddy Bears’ Delight.

“The float has about seven teddy bears, and they’re all animated,” she said. “The bear on the back of the flat is sitting in a hot tub, and his arms wave and bubbles come out.

“Little kids get very excited at the parades when they see our float.”

Capital Lakefair

What: The 52nd annual Capital Lakefair is a five-day celebration filled with music, carnival rides, fireworks, a grand parade and other family activities.

When: Noon to 10 p.m. today; noon to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 11 p.m. Sunday

Where: Capitol Lake, Olympia

Cost: Free, but take money for carnival rides, tempting treats at food booths, and arts and crafts

More information: 360-943-7344 or www.lakefair.org

Highlights

Today

6-8 p.m. Coronation of the Lakefair queen

8 p.m. Bump Kitchen

Friday

10 a.m.-3 p.m. 50s-Plus Day entertainment

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Old Man IV open for tours at Percival Landing

4-10 p.m. Car show in Marathon Park

5 p.m.-dark Dennis Acuff Memorial Doubles Tennis Tournament in Wonderwood Park in Lacey

7:30-11 p.m. Square Dance Weekend at Thurston County Fairgrounds in Lacey

Saturday

8 a.m.-noon Kit car races on Capitol Way

8 a.m.-noon Lakefair Fun Run in Heritage Park

8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tennis tournament continues

9 a.m.-7 p.m. Lakefair Volleyball Tournament on Capitol Campus

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Old Man IV open

11 a.m.-11 p.m. Square Dance Weekend continues

Noon-4 p.m. Kids Day activities in Sylvester Park

5-8 p.m. Grand Parade on Capitol Way

8 p.m. Neil Diamond Experience

Sunday

8 a.m.-7 p.m. Volleyball tournament continues

8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tennis tournament continues

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Old Man IV open

11 a.m.-11 p.m. Square Dance Weekend continues

10 p.m. Fireworks

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