Everyone should attend at least one Faire
It was another great Okanogan Family Faire, although I still fall back to calling it the Barter Faire when I don’t watch myself. Everyone I talked to Saturday said they were having a good Faire. One friend said he’d be out of the jars of pickled garlic he had prepared before the end of the day and wished he had been able to make more, but the automatic peeler he had ordered from back east hadn’t arrived yet. He was just one of the many familiar faces you see at the Faire each year, the faces of people who make a little money selling their handicrafts, fruits and vegetables and a wide variety of arts and crafts. And yes, if you ask, many of them will still barter for their goods.
The word going around is that there were some 6,000 people in attendance this year. That’s like having all the people who live in Omak suddenly showing up on Cayuse Mountain. I always compare it to the mythical city of Brigadoon. It’s got to be a great boost to the local economy, at the very least the gas stations in Tonasket as people fill up before heading back to the coast.
What always surprises me, though is, the reaction you get when you say you’re off to the Barter Faire or you were at the Barter Faire. Some say they wouldn’t go there, while others are curious about what it’s all about. I always encourage people to give it a try. They might be surprised to find it’s nothing like what they expected. Where else are you going to see such a diverse collection of people and such a wide variety of things to buy, eat or listen to anywhere else in Okanogan County? You see everything from old hippies to a younger generation of kids trying to recapture some of the 60s attitude of an era gone by. There are old farmers selling produce or farm implements or what have you and there are new farmers selling organic produce. The politics may be a little further to the left for some, but if you get a chance to talk to people you find out that they have the same concerns as pretty much everyone in the country. Some even tend to lean toward the conservative side — although they’re definitely in the minority at the Faire.
Some of the art for sale is spectacular and the music is often high quality whether on the main stage, the solar stage or just a group of folks gathered together round the fire jamming for whoever wants to listen.
It was an odd year because normally I have friends who come over from the west side to attend, but this year I went solo. I was fortunate to arrive after the rain and windstorm so it was mostly sunshine and blue sky while I was there.
Everyone should attend the Okanogan Family Faire at least once — it’s always entertaining and if it’s not for you, at least you opened yourself up to a new experience.