Lacey Spring Fair: Something for kids, grownups

What’s the highlight of the Lacey Spring Fun Fair?

Maybe it’s the parade, a 1-mile route on the Saint Martin’s University campus.

It could be Kidsworld, an assortment of at least 40 activities for children, including crafts and games.

Maybe it’s the circus train that takes people on rides around the grounds, or the pony rides, or the trout fishing.

Or perhaps it’s the remote-control aircraft zipping around, delivering toys and candy, an addition to the fair last year.

Ruth Weigelt, president of Lacey Community Events, has been involved with the festival since it began 22 years ago, and she has a much simpler answer:

“We have two stages of entertainment that people love to come and listen to,” she said. “It’s a variety, from bands to dancing to karaoke to the school groups.

“It’s a wonderful place for families to come, and they really don’t have to spend any money.”

Even parking is free.

Fair coordinator Valerie Fluetsch offers up the highlights at this year’s fair:

Experience Nature Project with Casey Lee: Meet big bugs, tortoises and reptiles in Kidsworld from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

“Kids and parents can pick up the different animals that he brings, and he gives lots of educational information,” Fluetsch said. “He was here last year, but his booth was quite crowded so not everyone got in. We’re excited to have him back and have more time with him this year.”

Game Matrix: This is a medieval strategy game with foam swords and shields – not unlike a live version of a video game in which players are organized in teams and try to win a battle.

Remote-controlled aircraft: These will be joined this year by remote-controlled cars that the crowd can drive.

Then there’s the parade, which anyone can join. “The theme is Hats and Music,” Fluetsch said, “so it’s any type of hats people want to wear or make or embellish and any type of musical instrument, homemade or otherwise.”

Not that it’s all amateur paraders. “We have bands and cheerleaders and dance teams, and the Lakefair court is going to be there,” she said. And none other than Ronald McDonald is going to lead the parade.

But it’s the trout fishing that caught our attention. The kids actually fish for actual trout? With real rods and hooks?

Oh, yes, Weigelt said. “Kids can catch a real fish. The Friends of the Cowlitz teach kids about fishing.”

The fish are in a portable pond.

Surely the kids catch them and throw them back, though?

Oh, no. “They catch them, and they can take them,” she said. “My friends’ grandchildren, my goodness, they just love that.”