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A Fan Fair

Despite sweltering heat, crowds flocked to the 50th Old Time Fair - with fans in one hand and a cold drink in the other - as they enjoyed all the favorite, traditional events and a few new ones
by: Vern Uyetake, Connor Guerins, front lett, Connor Newrones, front right, Lindsay Golden, second row right, and Alex Hale, second row left, all from  West Linn, were among the many fairgoers who went for a roller coaster ride.

West Linn's 50th Old Time Fair is over, but memories of the weekend-long event of the year in Willamette Park will likely remain in the hearts of generations of fairgoers.

Despite sweltering heat, crowds flocked to the Fair Court Queen's coronation Friday - Emma Jo Sipe was crowned queen - and to the much-loved parade on Saturday. Visitors enjoyed events including a classic car show, carnival rides, food and entertainment, fireworks, beach wrestling, a water ski show and a lumberjack show.

On Saturday morning, horns were honked and engines revved as hot rod drivers in the Old Time Fair parade kept tradition alive by chucking candy to cheering children. Tripping over themselves to snatch candies, kids squealed as the parade passed.

Neighbors and friends chatted under shade, seated on colorful towels laid along the grass as they complimented each other's children.

'It's just to get everybody together to see each other,' West Linn resident Don Kunstel said, waving at a friend driving by in a gleaming 1965 Thunderbird.

As the parade sputtered to an end, most children divvied up their candies in the grass, giggling in preparation for their impending sugar spree.

Farther down the street, a hand-made sign announced 'Cold Lemonade;' the numbers of its 25-cent price tag were written backwards.

Standing behind her lemonade stand under a vine-covered gazebo, 6-year-old entrepreneur Andrea Swanson had evidently passed the candy obsession stage.

'It was really fun,' Swanson said of the fair as she deposited another quarter in her growing coin pile. 'The rides were really fun and I met one of my friends from class.'

As parade-goers tromped down a hill to the fair, Chinese pugs pulled their owners past the lemonade stand, panting from the 90-something degree heat as they waddled by.

A pontoon plane soared overhead, occasionally muffling music as residents waited in lengthy lines for Lion burgers and other fair treats.

'It's a homey atmosphere,' said Dick Akins, president of the West Linn Lion's Club. 'This is the one time to see your neighbors, even meet your neighbors you might have never seen.'

Saturday afternoon, with speakers blasting from the new Willamette Park stage, Old Time Fair 2006 queen Emma Jo Sipe kicked up her feet as she tapped with other Maralee Dancers, leading the troupe in song after song.

Sipe was announced as queen during the coronation ceremony Friday night, as queens and princesses from fairs past who were in attendance to celebrate 50 years of the fair looked on. Rosa Bhutarak was named first princess, a tradition that started with last year's fair court.

Aaron Boyle, Sipe's grandmother, said she was proud of her granddaughter's accomplishment.

'I have seen her advance, she puts her all into everything she does,' Boyle said. 'She was looking forward to dancing and being on the court - I am so happy she is queen, she's worked so hard.'

Sipe said the fair has always been a time for her to see her friends, family and neighbors.

'I have seen a lot of changes,' she said, still wearing makeup from her dance. 'So many people have told me congratulations.'

John Atkins, community services coordinator for the city - who himself collapsed from heat exhaustion during the fair Saturday, but recovered later that day - said regardless of the blistering heat, droves of West Linners still showed.

'We did about the same as in previous years,' Atkins said. 'Attendance was off a little, especially on Sunday. (But) the new events offset the effects of the heat.'