I recall the joy I discovered as a child in going to the Twin Falls County Fair. Growing up in southern Idaho this fair was a highlight at the of the summer season. It was always held on the first the week of September. It was a popular event and a big attraction – so much so, that the schools closed for a day.

            My mom, my sister and myself always went to the Fair together. The carnival rides were the big draw for us. We loved the food… elephant ears, chocolate-covered frozen bananas, and corn dogs. You might find this funny, but we all loved the exhibits as well. Mom said the rule was to go the exhibits first (sounds like a mom). Our favorite exhibits were the animals and the handcrafted items. Since my mom grew up on a farm she had a special love for the animals and horses. After we had seen all of the exhibits and gone on the rides we would then end up at the rodeo.

            Today, what I want to talk about are those handcrafted exhibit items. The exhibit hall was just huge and packed with all kinds of things from quilts, to clothing, knitting, crocheting, canning, cookies, and pies – you name it someone had made it. I loved the quilts the most. They were hung high up on the walls of the building and they looked so big. I was so amazed that someone had sewn those all by hand.

            When I started Jolenes Sewing School one of the things I really wanted to do was to have my students enter and experience a County Fair – to have the opportunity to see what other people have created, and to encourage and inspire them to stretch themselves as sewers. Well, we’ll have the opportunity to do just that.

This year the Multnomah County Fair will be held on May 29th, 30 th, and 31st from 12 noon to 7 pm daily at Oaks Park in southeast Portland. I’m encouraging my sewing students to enter the items they have sewn into the Fair. Four of my students have been sewing since September 2009, and the rest have started since then – with three newer students attending and sewing for only a few weeks. If you live around here I would invite you to come and support all the people that enter this fair.

The Multnomah County Fair may be small as fairs go… but it is wonderful. Like the Twin Falls County Fair of my youth the Multnomah County Fair has carnival rides, crafts, exhibits, and much more. Here is a link to the Fair’s web site so you can see all the fun stuff happening over the three days it is open. www.multnomahcountyfair.org

            One of the things the Fair does to raise money during the event is to hold a silent auction. They have businesses and people donate items for baskets that visitors then bid on during the Fair. I have created and donated a Sewing Basket filled with sewing supplies and a $130.00 sewing camp certificate. The total value of my baskets contents is $190.00.  The Fair’s silent auction will usually have around 60 baskets filled with all kinds of things. Toward the end of the final Fair day (about 5 or 6 pm) the baskets get awarded to the highest bidders. I bet there will be a basket of something you just can’t live without.

            So plan to attend the Multnomah County Fair to support local crafters, and experience the fun and festivities – all for free as there is no admission fee! Don’t you have something that you can enter? See you there! And as always, Happy Sewing, JoLene