The calendar does not lie — the Kittitas County Fair opens on Thursday. If you are wondering where you coworkers have disappeared to around noon Thursday, you might check the line at the annual Super One lunch to start the fair.

And, oh yes, the Ellensburg Rodeo is underway with slack and kicks into gear with its first performance on Friday.

For those of us who keep track of our cholesterol count, it feels like it takes exactly a year to recover from the previous Kittitas County Fair.

It many ways this is a weekend that operates under its own rules. It is the one weekend of the year where it can actually be hard to find a parking spot in parts of Ellensburg.

It is the one weekend a year when kids can gorge themselves on fair food, rides and games. It is a weekend when the 4-H kids are in the spotlight. All the work done at homes and on farms can be displayed and appreciated by family, friends and community members.

It is the one weekend when we find out a neighbor has a talent for photography, drawing, baking or any other number of crafts.

It is the one weekend where a wide variety of entertainers perform on the hour throughout the entire weekend.

It is the one weekend when you can seriously contemplate eating an elephant ear for dessert after downing a corn dog.

And, it’s the one weekend of the year when you can keep up to date on the advances it foods that can be deep fried.

It is not just a fair and rodeo, but a community reunion. It is the one weekend many people who grew up in Ellensburg return to town to visit family and friends, and to introduce their children to the joys of a traditional county fair.

There is so much going on it takes a community of volunteers working year round to pull it off.

This is a classic county fair where the focal point remains on the rural/agricultural lifestyle and heritage of the community. The fair, as it is currently constructed, would not exist without 4-H — the children, parents and adult volunteers who make it happen. It remains the heart of the fair.

That is a reason the fair remains so family friendly and a traditional destination for locals and visitors.

There are changes every year in entertainment and other elements to keep the event fresh and vibrant, but core elements of the fair will look similar to someone who visited in the 1950s.

This is our weekend that we share with people from throughout the region. So, enjoy the fair and rodeo and all those events have to offer.

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