Sun, crowds turn out for Silvana Fair

SILVANA — In spite of what one might expect from Washington state weather, organizers of the Silvana Fair take pride in pointing out that it’s almost never rained on the day of their fair.

The 64th annual Silvana Fair proved to be no exception as the day’s warm sun and cloudless skies seemed to attract even more attendees than usual to Silvana’s Viking Hall and the adjacent fields on July 30.

“I think there’s more people here than ever,” said Darlene Strotz, treasurer for the Silvana Fair. “Our vendors are up, with some 40-odd here, and we’ve got a fantastic dairy cow selection. The poultry category might be down, but beef is up and the goats are good.”

Arlington rabbit breeder Autumn Dennistoun, 16, served as a judge for this year’s rabbit entries, explaining to younger attendees what characteristics she looks for in the furry entrants. Dennistoun has traveled across the country and placed near the top in national-level rabbit-breeding competitions, raising hundreds of rabbits since she received her first rabbit nearly a decade ago. She was first named “rabbit royalty” within the Washington State Rabbit Breeders Association in 2005, and she registered to become an official judge with the American Rabbit Breeders Association two years ago.

“I like rabbits because they’re quiet,” Dennistoun said.

Fellow Arlington native Devyn Peek, 9, was inspired by her older sisters to enter her 2-year-old crossbred heifer, Portia, into the Silvana Fair for the first time this year.

“Both her older sisters are in the Arlington Future Farmers of America,” said Jason Peek, Devyn’s dad. “We have a few animals on our farm, but it’s nothing big.”

Devyn enjoys feeding and grooming Portia, who responds positively, but Devyn doesn’t like straightening Portia’s hair with her Scotch comb, mostly because Portia herself doesn’t care for it.

“This has given Devyn a lot of confidence,” Jason Peek said. “She’s gained the respect of older kids who help her and encourage her a lot.”

Kolten Ford, 15, took the reserve overall senior grand champion ribbon for his crossbred Angora goat, while his fellow second-year entrant and Arlington resident, 11-year-old Kiauna Riley, received the fitting and showing championship ribbon for her 5-year-old Oberhasli goat, Hannah.

“I love taking care of goats, even though they can be high maintenance animals,” said Ford, who looks after 10 goats. “Make sure you find the breed that’s right for you, because not all goats are for everybody.”

“Goats are friendly,” Riley said. “When I’m sad, they cheer me up, and they’re very pretty. I have nine milkers and 14 babies at home.”

Stanwood’s Freyja Stangeland, 8, and Kaylee Dargitz, 16, were also returning for their second year of competition, but in the swine category. Stangeland credited her win of this year’s primary fitting and showing championship ribbon with how well she maintained eye contact with the judge.

“It can be difficult if the pig isn’t listening, though,” Stangeland said.

“I love that the pigs have personalities, but you have to keep that in mind when you’re competing,” Dargitz said. “If you’re nervous or angry, your pig will react the same way. You need to have fun doing this, or else there’s no point.”

Even the kids who weren’t showing animals found plenty to entertain them during the Silvana Fair. While there wasn’t any parade this year, Stanwood Redi-Mix still supplied the pole, and the cash prize envelopes on top of it, for the return of the greased pole-climbing contest. Smokey Point’s Parker Callan, 7, was one of the kids who came close enough to whip the crowd into a frenzy, but like most of his fellow contestants, he started slip-sliding down before he could reach the top.

“I always come here for the greased pole contest,” said Heath Callan, Parker’s dad. “I’ll check out everything else, but that’s what keeps me coming back.”

“Where else can you go to enjoy a full day of fun in the sun, without having to pay for parking or to get in?” Strotz said.


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