County Fair: Like bees to honey at attractions

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

 
photoA two-week-old piglet sleeps near its mother on Saturday at the Clark County Fair.

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If you go

• What: Clark County Fair.

• Hours today: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• Where: 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

• Admission: Adults, $10; seniors 62 and older, $8; kids 7-12, $7; kids 6 and younger, free. Parking, $6; C-Tran shuttle, $2 per person round trip from area park-and-ride lots; children 6 and younger ride free. $1 discount on admission with a bus fare stub.

• Carnival: Opens at noon; unlimited rides today, $30.

• Sleep Country Amphitheater: Texaco Country Showdown, Wash. State Final, 7:30 p.m.

• Other highlights: Prime of Your Life Day, activities all day celebrating fun after 50; 4-H robotics demonstration, 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

• Pets: Not permitted, except for personal service animals or those on exhibition or in competition.

• More information:clarkcofair.com or 360-397-6180.

• Mobile app: Download The Columbian’s mobile website for the Clark County Fair at http://www.columbian.com/fair-mobile

photoVancouver residents (from left) Maggie Gorans, 16, and Payton Folk, 16, are whipped upside down Saturday by the "Ring of Fire" carnival ride at the Clark County Fair.

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Despite the uncomfortably hot temperatures on Saturday, Clark County Fair activities carried on as planned. Fair attendees flocked to experience the thrill of carnival rides, while others visited the animal exhibits.

American Honey Princess Danielle Dale, a third-generation beekeeper from Wisconsin, was out and about, performing her royal duties at the fair.

On Saturday morning, the 20-year-old was busy helping judge the fair's cutest baby contest. After the contest, she posed with the babies as their proud parents snapped a quick photo. She's also kept busy judging the honey displays in the fair's bee barn.

Her role as the Honey Princess is to travel the country and teach people about the importance of honey bees and bee-keeping. She most recently jetted to Washington from a gig in New Jersey. She speaks at schools, community events and even legislative meetings.

She keeps a tip sheet on hand with facts about honey and the bees that make it. Did you know that honey is the only food that never spoils? Or that insect pollination is a part of producing about one-third of the foods people eat?

Honey bees are a vital part of farming, Dale said. They pollinate the crops, and they also pollinate the plants that are used to feed cows, which in turn produce milk and meat, Dale said.

Dale said one of her favorite parts about her role as an ambassador for the bee keeping industry is that she gets to travel the country and sample the types of honey that are unique to each region.

Her favorite Washington state honey so far has been Meadow Foam honey -- named after the flower that the bees use to create it. "It tastes a little bit like toasted marshmallows," she said.

Dale is a student at Western Technical College in LaCrosse, Wis., and she began keeping bees when she was 12. Although bees sometimes get a bad rap because of their stingers, Dale said honey bees are less likely to sting than many stinging insects because they die shortly after doing so.

"They're actually extremely gentle, she said. Dale will be at the fair through Thursday.

Looking for a rush

Across the fairgrounds from the bee barn, thrill-seekers lined up to get twirled and flipped on the fair's most intimidating carnival rides. Both shrieks and laughter rang out from rides with menacing names such as the "Ring of Fire," the "Viper" and the "Cyclone."

Though it includes no actual fire, the Ring of Fire roller coaster ring loops its passengers upside down over and over again. Friends Maggie Gorans and Payton Folk, both 16, dared to try the ride and seemed pleased that they had.

Gorans said the breeze of whipping around on the Ring of Fire helped keep her cool on such a hot day. She had been on only a few rides so far on Saturday, but she had ambitious plans for the rest of her day.

"I'm going on every single one of them," she said of the carnival rides. "I like to be able to see if I can scream and if it can actually scare me."

Folk said: "I just look for a rush."

Other fair-goers enjoyed the gentler carnival rides. Yana Crossland, 14, was at the fair with her family. She said she was looking forward to riding the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round.

"Everybody wants to try the Zipper," Crossland said of the ride towering nearby her. The Zipper looks like a Ferris wheel -- except the seats flip upside down and riders are strapped in and enclosed inside a cage.

But Crossland made it clear Saturday that the Zipper was a ride she planned to avoid. "I don't want to throw up in mid-air in a cage," she put bluntly.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523; http://facebook.com/reportermathieu; http://twitter.com/col_politics; stevie.mathieu@columbian.com.