Today marks the official opening for the Bonner County Fair. That means visitors should remember to take along some cash for the parking fee.
It also means that the items on display in the main exhibit building at the fairgrounds have been judged.
Yesterday's extensive judging crew, which featured about 50 percent familiar faces for me and the other half, faces I saw for the first time yesterday.
My sister and I judged a portion of the open class photography. It took us at least three hours, and during all that whole stretch, the wine judges were fully engaged. I think they had the most festive job in the house.
Before our judging duties started, I walked around the grounds, taking in some of those preliminary sights and sounds of this year's fair with my camera.
Some displays were still in the organizing stages while others were ready for spectators.
Display areas at the fair attractively enhance each individual exhibit, and though exhibit numbers may not have broken any records, the tastefully planned esthetics more than make up for any shortages.
I enjoyed my few minutes of taking in a mere portion of the indoor and outdoor exhibits.
In one case, a lady noted that I had a camera, so surely I must know where the llamas were. I told her I'd just stepped on to the grounds and pointed toward two barn possibilities.
She and her daughter headed for the sheep barn, where they probably found the llamas.
A very nice young gentleman also offered a "hello" to me during my photographic stroll. It was Levi, whom I'd met last week during interview judging----same one who took his sheep for a walk to Grandma and Great-Grandma only to find neither was home.
Levi had his little brother Logan with him yesterday. They told me their dad had a booth inside the main exhibit building and that they had been helping him.
Later, Levi and his brother sat down on a bench so I could take their picture. I think I have a new friend, and I'm looking forward to watching Levi as he progresses through the years.
While I was taking pictures of the vintage threshing machine, a man told me they'd be firing it up over the fair. He's the mechanic for Idaho Forest Group, whose owner has a collection of these beautiful classics.
I took a moment to reflect on my parents and all those other names on the monuments whose faces were familiar fixtures at fair's past.
Now, it seems that those of us who always looked up to folks like Leora Bandy, Jack Hickey or Myrt Burnett as our fair sages are rapidly entering the "golden" era of our lives, happily seeking out those big long, wooden benches where we can sit down rather than standing to do our visiting cuz of our achin' knees.
The cycle goes on from little Levi, who's just setting off on his Bonner County Fair journey, to the names on the monuments who worked hours on end doing their part in building the foundation for the annual fair that we see today.
Regardless of the changes we've seen over the years, the fair still represents a potpourri of local talent and personal pride mixed with longtime, treasured relationships.
That never changes. And, that is good.
Happy Tuesday. Enjoy the fair.