Douglas County Fair and Funtastic Shows working around heat to set up Douglas County Fair –

Even though the 2017 Douglas County Fair doesn’t officially open until Wednesday, Aug 9, work is already underway to transform the Douglas County Fairgrounds into something special.

Fair and carnival crew members were hard at work Thursday and Friday constructing rides, setting up exhibits, vendor booths and two music venues, among other tasks.

And the weather, which peaked at a high of 101 degrees Friday, didn’t make the setup work any easier.

Behind the carnival gates, workers from Funtastic Shows, a Portland-based carnival hired by the Douglas County Fair, were assembling the carnival’s rides Friday: a towering 30-foot rainbow Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and bumper car ride. They connected parts with pins and clips in precise order, much like constructing a gargantuan erector set.

Carnival workers have been working the past two days and are expected be finished before Wednesday. They worked from Thursday afternoon until 2 a.m. Friday. After a three-hour break, crews were back on site, working Friday from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. They purposely ended their work early, in order to escape the peak of the hot weather Friday.

“We are trying to get this stuff set up and keep them out of the heat of the day. Therefore, they don’t have any heat issues,” said Scott Culley, a foreman for Funtastic.

By 2 p.m., the crew had the Ferris wheel in place on its foundation and almost fully erected.

“The wheel was the most important to get up because that way it tells everybody going up and down the freeway that there will be a fair here soon, and they can see the sign that it is coming next week,” Culley said.

The crew is in the process of bringing in more rides, and adding more decoration for the Ferris wheel in time for the fair’s opening.

The Douglas County fair’s around 10 maintenance crews have set up the fair’s tents, vendor booths, livestock arena and fair bus locations. They have been setting up since the first week of July.

Tonya Arroyo, in charge of the photography exhibit for the fair, spent Friday in the Exhibit Building and the exhibit’s crew were accepting mainly photography entries.

According to Arroyo, who has been in charge of the photo exhibit for 15 years, said the photography contest at the fair has received an average of 1,000 pieces of work in recent years.

She said, although many contestants are looking to showcase work in hopes of possibly starting a business, the range of entrants are diverse, with different reasons to compete.

“Sometimes we get proud parents or proud grandparents who want to show photos of their grandchildren or children, or kids who want show they have building skills and can put together kits with K’Nex and Legos,” Arroyo said. “I love to see that because kids join, and it’s all about the community getting involved.”

Thanks to Arroyo, the contest will accept entries taken by mobile phone cameras for the first time this year.

One entrant, Carol Freeman, a retired counselor from Oakland High School from Oakland entered a picture she took with a small Nikon camera of the 4th of July Yoncalla fireworks. She also brought a picture of a muddy bright orange 1940s era truck, parked outside a brick building in Oakland.

“It’s a hobby. I’ve been [entering the contest] for about 20 years,” said Freeman. “It’s just fun to share my photography.”


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