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The Kittitas County Fairgrounds had no problem accommodating a big 4-H Junior Horse Fair, three jousting performances by the Seattle Knights and animals displaced by the Taylor Bridge Fire on Saturday. 

The fairgrounds served as a temporary shelter to hundreds of animals affected by the fire last week, though numbers have dropped over the past couple of days.

Hundreds of people visited the fairgrounds Saturday to support the 4-H junior horse show, watch the Seattle Knights Medieval Fantasy Performance Groupe, and perhaps, distract themselves from one of the biggest disasters in the county’s history. 

“We gave them the opportunity to cancel if they needed to, for their whole situation,” said Dameon Willich, Seattle Knights director. “But they said the community would want something to cheer everybody up, and I think it was the right call.”  

The Knights performed three, 30-minute jousting shows Saturday, including a dinner show. The performances were part of Ye Olde County Faire, Ellensburg’s first-ever medieval and Renaissance-themed fair. 

The Knights brought about six horses with them and had no trouble finding a place to keep them prior to performances at the Ellensburg Rodeo arena. 

“The animals were mostly gone by the time we pulled in, because most the people had been relocated,” Willich said. “So it wasn’t a big problem at that point.” 

Kittitas County Fair Board President Roylene Crawford said the Ye Olde Country Faire went smoothly. The Seattle Knights’ 7 p.m. dinner performance was sold out, though the fire kept a few people away during the day.

“There are no problems whatsoever,” Crawford said. “It’s all been pretty smooth.” 

It was the first time the Knights performed at the fairgrounds. Willich said it’s nice to perform so close to home, since many of their shows cross state boundaries. 

“The whole thing was really awesome, and it wasn’t as hot as everyone said it was going to be, so that was really nice,” Willich said. “It seemed like the people that came to the show really enjoyed it. And we said we would come back.” 

The 4-H junior horse show and shooting sports competition also took place Saturday. At Bloom Pavilion, riders rode around on their horses while being instructed to stop, back up, trot, walk and turn. About 45 horse participants were scheduled to take part.

Fair and rodeo

Meanwhile, plans are moving full steam ahead for the Kittitas County Fair and Ellensburg Rodeo on Labor Day weekend.

“We will be fine for this year’s fair and rodeo,” Kittitas County Fair Program and Facilities Director Matthew Anderson said.

There were 60 animals displaced by the fire at the fairgrounds this morning, with about half scheduled to be picked up today. Cleanup crews will go through the fairgrounds today and throughout the week.

“We are anticipating the (displaced) animals being out of the fairgrounds by Wednesday,” Anderson said.

Those interested in helping can message the fair’s Facebook page or call the Kittitas Valley Event Center Office at 962-7639.

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