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Fair survives traffic woes, bomb scare

The 60th Kitsap County Fair only slightly exceeded revenue and attendance levels from 2006, but earned plaudits from the State Fair Commission for its cleanliness and organization.

“The fair is Kitsap County’s biggest barbecue,” said Parks and Recreation Director Chip Faver. “Everyone who attended had a great time.”

Early figures showed 38,332 attendees over five days, up from the 38,192 2006 total. And according to a preliminary tally, the fair took in about $270,000 in receipts.

Additionally, the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink?” program intended to raise funds for local cancer care took in at least $10,000; double the 2006 total, but still below its goal.

“The money we raised will enhance the medical care cancer patients are receiving at Harrison Medical Center,” said program coordinator Julie Johnson. “When patients are more relaxed and not stressed they are able to recover more quickly, which is also a benefit to their family and friends.”

While there were no incidents aside from what Sheriff Steve Boyer characterized as “a minor bomb scare,” but the event came under criticism for the lack of parking enforcement.

Central Kitsap resident Jim Sommerhauser, who lives near the fairgrounds, presented several pictures of congestion at Monday’s county commissioners’ meeting. Sommerhauser said that many cars parked illegally along main roads, forcing families to fight traffic for road space.

“This is getting bad,” Sommerhauser said. “One of these days we are going to hurt someone.”

Boyer addressed the meeting after Sommerhauser’s remarks, saying he was “surprised that no one has been killed.” Boyer said he would work to correct the situation at next year’s fair.

“We need to examine the way we do things not just at the fair, but at all special events,” Boyer said. “We don’t meet the expectations of the people who live in the neighborhoods where the events take place. I take full responsibility for this, and promise that it will be better next year.”

As for the bomb scare, Boyer said that CENCOM received a threatening call on Wednesday, saying that someone planned to explode some low-level fireworks. After putting all personnel on alert for several hours, the department determined there was no apparent danger.

The fair received a special award from the State Fair Commission, along with the promise of approximately $50,000 in funding that will go to the operation of next year’s fair.

Faver said the money is awarded on a point system, at $7.50 per point, and the money is awarded each year. “We rely on these funds,” he said. “And it is the reason we maintain such high standards.”

It was the first fair for Faver, who was appointed as parks director earlier this year.

“It was an impressive experience,” he said. “It was a huge, multifaceted machine that takes on a life of its own. There is an incredible amount of moving parts.”

Faver said that the staff helped him navigate the fair.

“Everyone was extremely accommodating about my learning curve,” he said. “Whenever there was an open door, there was someone standing there with a flashlight.”

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