Fair Appreciation, Blue Mountain Fiddlers make for a full evening of entertainment

Beginning fiddler Ori Schaefer played his favorite tune, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and was accompanied by sister Amanda, brother Ben and instructor Lynne Wilson.

JOHN DAY - In the aftermath of another successful Grant County Fair, the annual Fair Appreciation Dinner was held Sept. 27 at Trowbridge Pavilion.

With around 75 in attendance for a free meal and program, Fair Manager Carolyn Stout and assistant Lisa Hunter acknowledged the many people who make the Fair and fairgrounds-related activities happen. The outstanding volunteers, maintenance crew as well as superintendents and numerous other contributors were noted and gifts were distributed to various attendees.

Stout stressed appreciation to all who help in any way, even those who were not named specifically. Two four-by-eight-foot presentation boards highlighted various volunteers and contributors. In addition to Stout and Hunter, Sharon Livingston assisted with the program.

After the main program, Rusty and Peggy Clark mentioned their personal appreciation for the impressive flag presentation made at the Grant County Fair Rodeo by members of the Oregon Army National Guard - Nick Tarvin, Jeff Wilcox and Neil Brooks - who arrived in full uniform and at their own expense to honor the three Grant County law enforcement officers involved in last summer's shooting incident in Long Creek, Richard Gray, Jason Rehling and Sam Bell.

Of the ceremony, Peggy Clark said, "It was really moving. It made me stop and think about turmoil in the world and in our county."

Charlene Morris was in charge of the flag presentation for the Fair Rodeo and was inspired by patriotism shown at Redmond - specifically the determination of a Iraq War veteran's sister to see that flags were displayed on the streets of Redmond in honor of our troops. Morris was assisted by Debbie Bennett to bring the impressive flag presentation to Grant County Fair Rodeo and attendees.

The Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers presented musical entertainment following the Fair Appreciation Dinner and most of the crowd stayed to hear some toe-tapping tunes. The fiddlers have been part of the program for the fifth year.

Twenty-three entries included approximately 30 musicians from around the region; one from Idaho. During the evening, Ron Hasher was named "Sheriff" and Norm Jones was the "designated 911 caller." The Cloggers and the infamous McDaniel Sisters added variety to the show.

Ivan McDaniel was especially surprised at seeing the McDaniel Sisters since he has no sisters! But Bertha (alias Carolyn Stout), Bobbi (Lisa Hunter) and Betty (Julie Bullock) gave an ear-wrenching performance to a couple of ditties. Wayne Hamilton was the oldest fiddler performing on stage that night; Ori Schaefer the youngest. The oldest fiddler in the organization is 96-year-old Bill Noble of Boardman.

The Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers began in 1969 and McDaniel served as first president for nine year. Since then, there have been only seven presidents, indicating that most serve long terms. The organization includes nine counties. McDaniel serves as the Grant County director and other directors include: Wayne Hamilton, Umatilla; Bob Stevens, Morrow; Linda Miller, Malheur; Nellie Langlitz, Baker; Charlie Trump, Wallowa; and Arleigh Umphreys, Union; Bobbi Jo Medlock, Wheeler; and Denny Langford, Union, who is current president of the organization and served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

The organization has approximately 300 members who participate in 24 shows per year in Eastern Oregon and two contests - at Enterprise the second week of June and La Grande the second week of August. Membership is $7.50 annually. For more information, call McDaniel at (541) 575-2574.

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