With opening day just over a month away, the Umatilla County Fair’s new coordinator is working make the second year at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center a success.
Angie McNalley assumed the title of fair coordinator in April, after former fair coordinator Cyndie Driscoll resigned in March.
McNalley was formerly the administrative assistant of the fair, which acts as a support position for the manager, and said she is familiar with many of the responsibilities of being fair coordinator.
“It wasn’t the right time in years past when our managers have left for me to accept the promotion,” she said. McNalley has a 16-year-old son, and said now that he’s older she has more time to devote to the fair.
In addition to promoting McNalley to fair coordinator, the Umatilla County Fair board has implemented a variety of other changes in attempts to improve this year’s event. One such change is the flow of the parking lot and the appointment of Luke Dynes as the fair’s new parking director.
Although the new grounds at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center had more paved parking spots than years past, many fair-goers left upset over how long it took to exit the lot at the end of the night.
McNalley said the fair board has found insight from the layout of the new fairgrounds to enhance parking, improve security and better serve vendors based on the general flow of foot traffic.
“I’m just excited this year because we’ve gone through our first year and we’ve learned so much and gone through a lot of the aches and pains,” she said.
She also hopes to improve the carnival compared to years past. The company that supplies the carnival rides, Davis Amusement Cascadia, is under new management and McNalley is optimistic that carnival rides will go more smoothly this year.
“There were issues with the contractors that the carnival was using and it kind of left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth and I know that over the years everybody has been asking for more rides, bigger rides and better rides, so that’s where we’re at this year,” she said.
Nonetheless, McNalley said despite the stress of planning the fair, she enjoys seeing it come to fruition: “Watching it all come together. That’s the best part.”
The Umatilla County Fair is August 7-11.