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Volunteer of the Year 2013
Teresa Gray our Volunteer of the Year has a kind heart and a gentle spirit. You won't see her front & center stage, because she's more of a behind the scenes person who gets the job done. Teresa has had a lifelong love for animals. She talked her mother into purchasing her a horse when she was in the 8th grade. It only seemed natural for Teresa's involvement with the fair to start as a 4-H leader with the Apple Valley 4-H Club in the 1070's. Teresa home schooled her children & helped them get many animal projects ready for fair. Teresa's knowledge of goats & educating her 4-H club soon put her in the position of Goat Superintendant. She has helped in that capacity for over 16 years. Starting last year Teresa had the desire for everyone at fair to get a close up experience with the farm animals, so she & her husband started the Petting Farm. This has given Teresa the opportunity to continue to educate children about the variety of animals shown at the fair. We have been very grateful to have a long time and committed volunteer like Teresa. Stop by the Petting Farm & say hello to her at this year's fair.
Family of the Year 2013
Jim and Janet Flagel and Family
You could say that the Family of the Year has had their eye on the fair everyday, that's because the fair is literally in their own backyard. Jim Flagel has lived next door to the fairgrounds before it became the fairgrounds. He has spent countless hours volunteering his time and talents in building, repairing,mowing, and helping with numerous projects on the fairgrounds. When Janet married Jim she too was soon involved with the fair. Janet along with being an exhibitor was a 4-H leader. She remembers how proud her club members were to exhibit the pot holders and baked goods they had entered. For several years Jim & Janet were judges in the youth building. Lena & Anna Flagel looked forward to the fair every year. They would stay up late on Labor Day waiting for the carnival trucks to come, trying to guess which ride had just arrived. Both of these ladies have entered many exhibits over the years. At a young age Lena entered her Barbie doll house dragging it to the fair by herself in her little red wagon. We are very excited to be able to honor the Flagel family this year & thank them for their many years of service to our county fair.
Memories & History of the Chelan County Fair as told by Jim Flagel
The Chelan County Fair has been a part of my life since I was fourteen years old. Growing up and living next door to the fairgrounds has afforded me a unique opportunity to witness its beginnings, growth, struggles, and changes. The Chelan County Fair is just as exciting to me today as it was the very first year. I can remember the first fair in 1957 when the community decided to move the fair from Leavenworth, Washington to the land where it is located presently. Charlie Clemmons was the instigator at the time and had a vision for the Chelan County Fair to have its home in Cashmere. Old gravel piles from the previous rock crushing plant were removed to set up four animal barns. The fair was really about the animals and celebrating community at that time. It was rather exciting for me and my family. In 1960, the first exhibitor building was erected near Westcott Road. It now serves as the Youth Building. As the fair grew, more buildings were added. Margaret Boswell was the fair manager at the time and oversaw about 80% of the construction. She brought the fair to life! Around 1964, the large Commercial Building was built along with the rodeo arena, wooden grandstands and several booths behind the arena. Between the years 1969-1970 other exhibitor buildings were added along Kimber Road and in the 80's the pig barn was built. Unfortunately, the winter of 1997 was rather damaging to the animal barns and many collapsed under the weight of heavy snow and had to be removed. The next year the large Expo building was built to replace those buildings.
When I grew up and married, the fair meant family time with my wife and my daughters and seeing their excitement over all the fair activities. Because we lived so close to the fair, it became the weekend to see old friends and relatives who wished to find a good parking spot in our yard. The fair for me meant pig races, riding the Ferris wheel, the Octopus, trying my hand at the hammer & bell game, watching the Lions Club Bingo, eating a burger at the Beehive stand or a corn dog from the Kiwanis Club. It was the excitement of the rodeo and all the lights from the Davis Show rides. I loved to walk through the exhibit barns, look at the animals, and smell the aroma of the food booths. The music playing on the fairgrounds just made it magic!
The Chelan County Fairgrounds was always used for more than just the fair each September. High schools in the county would use the ground for their band concerts, and numerous country western, rock, and big band concerts were held in the arena during the summers. Local churches, Boy Scout troops and Campfire Girls would use the buildings for roller skating parties. Other events held on the grounds included the Rotary Clam Feed, Square Dancing festivals, Snowmobile races, youth group gatherings, church camps, car shows, circuses, and recently the Blue Grass Festival and the Kennel Club dog show. The beauty of the fairgrounds is that they are accessible to the community which attracts many different types of people. Because we live nearby, we are able to enjoy meeting many new people, listening to the music first hand
I have always volunteered by time at the fair. When I was younger I would help to pick up garbage, move sprinklers & mow. I've helped paint and make repairs. I also gave my time to tear down the old pig barn. Recently I have been helping with repairs on the exhibitor buildings & offering my advice & knowledge to the fair manager.
I want to see the Chelan County Fair thrive and for the grounds to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.