As crowds flocked to the return of the Clark County Fair on Saturday, they found the South Hall transformed into a science fair, with brain teasers, sensory experiments and docile reptiles.
When Kevin Palena heard that the Ferris wheel would once again be at the Ridgefield fairgrounds after a two-year hiatus, he knew his family would be there. He grew up in the area going to the fair every year and had been waiting to bring his kids.
He laughed as his son, Dominic, 7, and his daughter, Alaya, 10, shrieked when a massive bubble they made at the Wild Science exhibit burst. Dominic was even brave enough to hold a leopard gecko, which wriggled out of his grasp and back onto the table with his enclosure.
Palena said that although the kids were most excited to go on the roller coasters, the science exhibit was a lot of fun and a nice indoor break from what was soon to become a very hot weekend.
He knew he’d have to indulge his daughter soon with some of the roller coasters they’ve seen as they pass by on Interstate 5.
“We can see them on our way home. We could see the towers went up and then the Ferris wheels went up,” Palena said. “She’s finally tall enough to do some of the real scary ones, which means apparently I have to also do the scary ones — which I’m totally down with.”
The Tervo family bought their fair tickets with the Wild Science exhibit in mind.
The fair was the first outing for the whole family with 3-week-old Ramona, who was sleeping soundly in a carrier on Denali Tervo’s chest. Three-year-old Zayla and 2-year-old Elijah smiled as their father, Bryce Tervo, made massive bubbles that he bent over their heads and trapped them inside.
The fair was also likely one of last outings for the Tervo family before they move from their Woodland home out of the state. Denali Tervo said she wanted to bring the kids to make memories at the fair her husband grew up attending before they start their move. She made sure to bring her camera Saturday.
“I was nervous because you never know if they’re going open things back up or not, and I really wanted to do this for my kids,” Denali Tervo said. “Even though they’re not really at an age to remember, it’ll be really fun for them.”
Nancy Bommer said it’s great to bring the animals back to the summer fair after so many fairs she attends were either canceled for the past few years or shrunk to comply with pandemic guidance.
“It’s so energizing to see people exploring things, enjoying a day out,” she said.
Although the Wild Science exhibit may look like it’s geared for kids, Bommer said it can be even more rewarding to watch an adult who’s been afraid of an animal interacting with the ones she holds in the palms of her hands.
Jessica Ullom came to the fair — and the Wild Science exhibit — Saturday to bring her granddaughter, Adalyn, 6, for the first time. But as they pieced together a puzzle of the United States, she laughed that her husband, David Ullom, might be having even more fun.
She said they used to be vendors at the fair, so it was nice to come as general fairgoers and get to enjoy all of the fun. Ullom’s daughter, Bailey, said she thinks the few years the fair was sidelined increased the excitement for the annual event to return.
“We’re very excited it’s back,” Jessica Ullom said. “We’ve missed it.”
For more information and a schedule of events, visit clarkcofair.com.