Thursday, October 16, 2008

Saving the King County Fair

Reading this article, I am saddened by the lack of imagination and vision in the County Executive's office. I understand that we are in the middle of a financial crunch, but we are also in the middle of a cultural transformation period the likes of which civilization has not seen since the end of the Roman Empire. No, I'm not kidding. The "localization movement" is just getting started. Our energy infrastructure needs to change from centralized to distributed. The job market is changing to "Green Jobs". The next decade will see the greatest transformation of our economy that we have seen since the first Industrial Revolution. King County needs to step up to the plate, not use a hatchet on the budget.

I can think of a number of things that could keep the King County Fair going.

Giving the food vendor spots over to local restaurants instead of national junk-food chains is a start.

Open up the market stalls to the Washington State Farmers Market Association.

In additional to 4H, Future Farmers of America and other agriculture based youth organizations, open up one of the buildings for a giant Jr. High and High School level science fair.

Invite local and national renewable energy manufacturers and service providers to give talks and lectures, instead of vendors like "Jay the Juiceman", talking about how people can increase the energy efficiency of their homes, how they can increase recycling at work, how they can volunteer to help keep up our parks and wild spaces.

Make part of the fair a giant job-hunters market, where people looking for work can meet small and medium sized businesses looking for good people.

The King County Agricultural Fair has been going since 1863. Maybe it's time for an evolution. King County has one third of the population of the entire state of Washington. If attendance for the King County Fair has been dropping, it's most likely because we are still thinking of a Rural fair in an Urban/Suburban county. Changing our thinking, and asking ourselves what a Fair would be like if we thought outside of that box, is the first step to re-engaging people in 2008/2009.

I hope that we can find a way to keep the Fair part of our tradition here in King County. Large community events like this are important, and need our support.

No comments: