Giant sunflower

Gracie Tucker-Walls, 6, shows the giant sunflower she is growing.

Gracie Tucker-Walls is disappointed the Umatilla County Fair won’t go on in its usual format this year, but the Hermiston 6-year-old still wants people to know that the sunflower she grew for it is “really tall.”

While Gracie is just shy of 4 feet tall herself, her giant sunflower is over twice her size, passing 9 feet tall. It is part of the garden she helps her aunt and uncle plant every year, and she usually chooses some of the plants she grew to show at the fair. In 2018, her cucumbers received a judge’s choice award.

“She helps us with all of it,” her aunt Laura Tucker said. “She helps Uncle John plant the garden, she helps water it and weed it.”

She said the gardening helps Gracie learn about hard work and about the science behind gardening. “I learned not to plant all the seeds in one hole,” Gracie added.

Most of the activities of the Umatilla County Fair have been canceled due to COVID-19, including concerts, the parade and carnival rides. But in May, the fair board announced there would be some opportunities for 4-H and FFA students, and the livestock auction will take place using “available technologies.”

Tucker said she wasn’t sure if that meant there was an opportunity for Gracie to show her sunflower or other produce, but they would participate if the option was available.

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