I’m looking forward to the Umatilla County Fair taking place in its new digs at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center

I’m especially excited about air-conditioning where the open class entries will be displayed. I’ve done my share of sweating in Price Hall while judging photography since 2006.

To get a short reprieve from the sweltering heat, I used to head over to the senior center — where they housed the horticulture exhibits — to use the restroom and cool down.

With this year’s theme of “New Faces, New Places & Old Friends,” I was reflecting about fair memories. Before I started working at the East Oregonian and Hermiston Herald, I used to enter my work in the photography division.

Each summer, Carol McIntosh and I would talk about what we were going to enter, where we found deals on mats and start doing the countdown to taking our entries in. We were like giddy schoolgirls, fussing over our photos.

Anticipating how my photos were viewed by the judges, I’d get excited after dropping off entries on Sunday. It seemed like it took forever for Tuesday morning to roll around, marking the opening day of the fair.

Then, I found out Carol used to sneak into Price Hall the night before the fair officially opened to check on her photos. One year, she talked me into going in. I got caught and was sent away.

When I went home, I called her and we had a good chuckle. Carol somehow cajoled me into changing clothes, putting on a hat and going back. And, you know what happened?!? Yep, I got stopped at the door again.

Other memories over the years include a couple of big storms during fair week, including in 2012 when Carol Greene and I were at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo. The hourly weather forecast predicted a 10 percent chance of rain and a drop in temperature, so I grabbed a jacket as we headed out the door. It was a beautiful night.


Suddenly, the sky darkened, there was booming thunder, jagged lightning and the wind began to wreak havoc on my hair. An announcement on the loud speakers directed people to take refuge in Rankin Pavilion.

Carol and I darted in and out of the crowd like Marshawn Lynch during his heyday with the Seahawks. As the torrential downpour persisted, we realized we were gonna have to hunker down in the sheep barn.

When the rain let up a bit, we made our way to the senior center — hey, I was in survival mode and I knew they had the best facilities. We took selfies and I sent a text to my husband. His response, “It looks like there’s a 100 percent chance of rain now.”

Another memorable experience was attending the Uncle Kracker concert in 2010. I had just survived the worst case of cabin fever after breaking my shoulder.

The concert was my first real entertainment after sitting at home for nearly two months. With four VIP tickets — which somehow multiplied like Jesus feeding the multitudes with five loaves of bread and two fish — a bunch of my friends and I had a crazy fun time.

I’m looking forward to creating more memories at the EOTEC facility. See ya at the fair!


Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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