Southwest Washington Writers member Julie Zander recently released her latest book. For more than a century, the Southwest Washington Fair has drawn farmers, friends, and families to the fairgrounds in Chehalis to show off their livestock, agricultural products, cooking and handicrafts.
Now the history of the Southwest Washington Fair, the only one in the state mandated by the Washington Legislature to occur every year, has been captured in a comprehensive 329-page book published this month.
Chapters of Life at the Southwest Washington Fair features stories and photos about the fair, which began in 1909 and still flourishes today. Edna Fund, now a Lewis County commissioner, and I began collecting memories from people during the 2009 centennial. Many of those recollections appear in the pages of the book.
I scanned photos from the fair office, the Lewis County Historical Museum, The Chronicle, Washington State University Extension’s 4-H office, and Centralia teacher and FFA coordinator Chris Guenther’s scrapbooks.
Each of the former fair managers shared stories about their experiences overseeing the annual event and the constant struggle to raise money to maintain the fairgrounds and keep the fair afloat. In the case of Tony Wildhaber, who managed the fair during the 1950s and 1960s, I heard stories from his widow, Margaret Wildhaber.
Much of the history of the fair and the stories of people involved would be lost if not captured in the pages of a book, which is available for sale at the Lewis County Historical Museum and the Southwest Washington Fair office. The cost is $29.95 and proceeds benefit the museum and the fair.
The Chronicle wrote an article about the book that can be found at the following link: http://www.chronline.com/toledo-author-finishes-comprehensive-book-on-southwest-washington-fair-history/article_f5bd28cc-9b11-11e5-bb20-77d5ffd58eeb.html?_dc=799537784652.7844