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Thurston County Fair opens with array of exhibits, activities

The Thurston County fair kicked off Wednesday morning and was living up to its theme, “Fun for the whole herd.”

An opening-day favorite was Fun Bubbles, a human equivalent to the hamster ball, in which guests can climb inside floating plastic balls and roll around in a 2-foot-deep swimming pool.

“I felt that that ride was worth the $5 for kids. They were on until they got tired,” said Sue Grote, who brought grade-school children Caroline Moore and Joshua Emerson to their first summer at the fair.

Joshua said he was most excited to take his chances on the Zipper, one of the fair’s rollercoaster rides.

Along with rides, the fair offered a variety of food, entertainment and shopping. Riffi Rana has been a vendor at fairs in Washington for 15 years. This is her second year at the Thurston County Fair.

“This fair, the people are so lovely, I love the little kids who came this morning ... it’s such a beautiful thing to do fairs, I think more people should get into it,” she said. Rana said her love for beautiful things was what attracted her to becoming a vendor. Her booth is adorned with multicolored scarves, sterling silver jewelry, and a variety of hats and sunglasses.

“I’m so tired of people wearing drab black and gray ... look at the flowers; you can compare the color of the flowers with my booth,” Rana said.

A short walk past the vendor booths takes fair-goers to the animal exhibits and competitions. Ten-year-old Hailey McQuaid has been showing llamas and alpacas since she was 2 years old. She is spending her week answering questions and preparing to show her alpaca, Rocky Road, at the end of the week.

“For fitting and showing, everybody dresses up in black pants and a white button-up shirt and long sleeves, and you basically go in an arena and get judged. You have to look nice and so does your animal,” she said.

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