The economic news - locally, nationally and globally - isn't good right now.?Times are tight and we're all a bit on edge on the length and impact this will have on us.?

These difficult times create a perfect environment to plan for the Grant County Fair's Centennial.? The Grant County Fair is the longest running continuous fair in the State of Oregon.?

How does that fact figure into the economic picture? The Grant County Fair didn't stop during the Depression or the world wars as many of the other county fairs in the state did.?Instead, the Fair kept going - it never missed a year.?

Over the last century in Grant County, money has often been tight and many of the years were marked with truly difficult hardship and struggle for families and businesses.?No one that has spent any time in Grant County has ever felt that they could "glide" through economically. But instead of wringing their hands, our communities have enjoyed themselves by having get-togethers of all kinds and types.? There were Scottish American dances, Harvest Balls, March of Dimes basket socials, Grange Halls for dances and socials and the Grant County Fair.?

Some of these events have ended, some have had a second life, the Grange and Masonic halls are being rebuilt into community centers and the Grant County Fair is 100 years old!?

I just returned Saturday from a Ford Leadership Conference in Baker City.? Lots of topics were discussed - education, entrepreneurship, transportation, health, tourism, jobs, and my favorite - branding.?

No, this "branding" isn't what you do to calves every spring.? But as interesting as it is to watch an old-fashioned branding, it is just as interesting to discuss how to brand a community, a county, a product and so on.?

When deciding on a "brand," one must first determine what makes your product different or unique from other similar ones.?The 100th Fair Planning Committee wants you to help "brand" the 100th Fair by submitting a theme suggestion.? Maxine Day and Kay Cowan-Thompson will soon have information out to the public on how you can submit a theme.?

The date for the 100th Grant County Fair is Aug. 19-23, 2009.? Keep this in mind when planning your high school, family or friend reunion.? The Genealogy Society will be requesting family history boards. We'll be reaching out to past fair courts and grand marshals.?And we also want to incorporate the future, maybe with a time capsule, Lego robotics, and/or new technology demonstrations.?

If you have ideas or would like to help plan, please call the Fair Office at 575-1900.?

Meanwhile, the events go on. The Fall Market is our next one; it will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. Join us!

Stephanie Walters is the manager of the Grant County Fairgrounds.

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