Fair goers reflect on past and present fairs
by: Vern Uyetake, Ethan, 6, and Kale, 3, Loun of West Linn eagerly wait for the parade to pass by and reward them with a shower of candy

Rhubarb pie, Lions burgers and ice-cold Popsicles pleased crowds at the Old Time Fair one more time.

Some fair goers took this year's fair to reflect on memories and the accompanying history of the Willamette area itself.

Rickie Atwood, maiden name Frenzel, said the fair started with her mother. Atwood's mother helped start the fair, while her grandpa, Bud Atwood, helped build the area of the downtown Willamette near the Lil' Cooperstown Pub, she said.

'It's great to see everybody,' Bud Atwood said while enjoying a sugar-free brownie treat.

Other history makers are Ben and Betty Fritchie, who owned Willamette Builder's Supply, a hardware store. It all started as a cabinet shop and morphed into a hardware store over the 50 years they owned the business. The community needed hardware and paint so the couple joined with True Value, another hardware store branch. They then sold off the business in 1990.

'People say 'I don't care what the store is, it will always be the hardware store, it will always be Fritchies,'' Betty Fritchie said. 'It just shows how much of an impression Fritchies has made on West Linn.'

Other community members Jeannie and Elizabeth Thompson reflected on the generation differences at the fair. Elizabeth, who will be a sophomore at Oregon State University, remembers growing up in West Linn and attending the fair every year.

'It's a place to get away when you weren't old enough to do anything else,' Elizabeth said.

'I remember dropping you off,' said Jeannie, Elizabeth's mom.

It's also a social event for the residents of West Linn, too.

'You can catch up with people that you haven't seen,' Jeannie said. 'It's a community thing.'

Vicki Oldenstadt and Jerry Turner see each other once every year - at the fair. They grew up two houses away from each other.

Turner, once a volunteer fireman, remembers watching the Fireman Muster Competitions, where one of the competitions included pushing a basketball on a string with the water hose, he said.

Oldenstadt remembers the melt-in-your-mouth cotton candy from the Bethel girls.

West Linn Lions Club member, Bob Hoover, also recollected his fair memories that begin at a different time of the day, in the early morning hours.

'We get up at four in the morning and cook breakfast every year,' Hoover said.

Although another fair has come and gone, the memories of those who attended have lasted a lifetime. The West Linn community can look forward to more fun and festivities next year.

Crowning a queen

At the Old Time Fair queen coronation, months of hard work all came down to one moment.

The six princesses of the fair court stood tensely together Friday evening as Old Time Fair Chairperson Cathleen Houk opened an envelope behind them. Its contents: the name of the 2008 Old Time Fair Queen.

Drum roll please.

'Emily Taylor,' Houk said as the stage erupted with the joyful screams of the princesses.

With that, 2007 Queen Allissa Meis gave up her robe and her throne, and the reign of Queen Emily began.

'I'm thrilled for her. She wanted it real bad,' said Emily's mother, Cindy Taylor.

Emily had been working for several months to be named queen. Some events she volunteered for were the Habitat for Humanity park clean up, Teddy Bear Parade and Oregon Food Bank.

As the fair grew closer, the excitement built to the point that Emily was hardly sleeping the last few nights before the fair. Dreams of being crowned queen were a part of the little sleep she did get.

Chalk that one up to a dream come true.

'When I was really little, I had dreamed about it because I had been to every coronation,' said 14-year-old Emily. 'I almost cried just walking out here because it's such a big deal just to be a part of this. … It's absolutely indescribable.'

'It's amazing. It fills me with joy,' Taylor said.

Both Taylors took time to emphasize that all of the girls had earned the right to be named queen, but there's little doubt they got the result they wanted.

'I was just really really hoping to get it because I wanted it so bad,' Emily said. 'I knew that every girl deserved it, but I really wanted it to be me.'

Still, Emily plans to remain close with the other girls in the 2008 court; even saying their bond was 'probably better than all of the past courts have had.'

Now that she's earned her crown, what's next for Emily? Just ask her.

'Being a role model for so many little girls and helping out the next court,' she said.

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