In 37th year, FCAD events draw crowds again
It started with little smoke, and it ended with little fires.
After smoke from wildfires had hung over the city for days, the 37th annual Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day remained remarkably smoke-free throughout the day.
“It didn’t look too good yesterday weather-wise, but we know that God loves Quincy; look at this,” said former Rotary president Chuck Allen about the blue skies above the city during FCAD. “We got blessed today.”
People of all ages gathered at venues throughout the city, including the Veterans Memorial, Quincy High School, Lauzier Park, Mountain View Elementary and the parade route downtown, to take part in the celebration. Visitors from as far as Nevada and California mingled with locals as they shopped, danced, sang and competed in a broad variety of events.
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The festivities began about an hour after sunup, with the hot-air balloon launch at Lauzier Park, and ended with an unusually short fireworks display at the same park, about 15 hours later.
Five balloons, from Spokane, Wenatchee, Oregon and two from Walla Walla, took to the skies above Quincy for early morning rides.
“A little breezy to start with,” said Kent Bacon, who helped organize the balloon rides and the fireworks show. “But then the wind calmed down, they all flew, and they had a good time.”
Soon after, across town, a group of people took to the streets to walk or jog during the annual Beat the Beast run. The event also serves as the timed trial for the Quincy High School cross country team, but because of the smoke, things worked out a little differently this year, Quincy cross country coach Greg Martinez said.
“We didn’t practice at all outside, and last night we had practice but we couldn’t require them to be here because we didn’t know what the air quality was going to be like,” Martinez said.
About 17 QHS athletes ran Beat the Beast, he added.
After Beat the Beast kicked off, FCAD included a moment of thanks to those who have fought for freedom, unveiling new nameplates on the Veterans Memorial near the corner of E Street SE and Second Avenue SE. More than 40 new names appear on the wall, including a Confederate soldier, and a man named John Thayer, who fought against Pancho Villa at the turn of the 20th century.
His grandson, Jim Thayer, could not hide his emotion at seeing his grandpa’s plaque on the wall.
“Been a long time coming,” he said, with his voice breaking, before noting that John Thayer was the first of three generations of Thayers to serve in the armed forces.
At 10 a.m., veterans of the armed forces along with Boy Scouts presenting the colors, kicked off FCAD’s parade, which lasted about an hour. People parked chairs along the parade route hours before it started, securing a good spot in the shade, or near a restroom or near a place that sold or offered water.
Five-year-old Jayleen Muñoz stood in such a spot, feet away from The Grainery café, and mentally compared her surroundings with those of her former hometown. Asked whether Quincy was more exciting than her old home base, she replied, “Yeah, a little bit.”
Muñoz moved to Quincy two months ago, from Las Vegas.
After the parade, the sounds and smells and sights concentrated in one place: Quincy High School, which remained busy for the better part of four more hours, with two shows by singer David Stamey, two shows by Seattle band The Weavils, a volleyball tournament, a Rotary barbecue, a quilt show, a baby animal exhibit, a cooking contest, a birds of prey exhibit, and row upon row of booths both outside and inside the high school’s gym.
One area of the grass field that attracted a lot of attention was the two rows of vehicles there for the Rotary-sponsored car show. Shiny rides vied for votes and attention alongside quirky, rusty rat rods.
One of the owners of the shiny toys, Rick Darling, of Moses Lake, said that once upon a time, his speedster aspired to be even considered a rat rod.
“It was a wreck when I bought it, it was smashed,” said Darling, who purchased his 1932 Ford Roadster three years ago and fixed it up. “It was the car I always wanted to have.”
Darling’s car won the Washington Tractor People’s Choice Award at the FCAD Car Show. Best in Show went to Jerry Piper, with a 1951 Chevrolet.
Asked if he feared getting it smashed again during his trips to car shows in places like Seattle and Montana, he shrugged.
“It’s just a car,” he said. “It’s been bad before. If it goes bad again, I will just fix it.”
FCAD parade awards
Sweepstakes winner, presented by Masonic Lodge: The Mini Harvest
This trophy is given to the participant that most relates to the theme: Our Farm to Your Table.
Youth Category: Expressions Dance Studio
Community: Stardust Cowgirls
Classic/Antique Auto: Travis Herring with a 1966 Chev C-10 Cruiser
Antique Farm Equipment: Gary and Patty Wilson
Commercial: Skagit Transportation
Farm Equipment: CHS
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org