Mike Brady will admit that over the years, there’s been a few “fender benders” when cars have been parking at the fair. But his goal is to make sure every single car, truck, and RV gets in and out of the fairgrounds dent-free.
“With all the people and animals walking around, you’ve gotta be on your toes,” said Brady, who is director of parking at this year’s fair. Brady is also president of the Kitsap County Fair Board.
Without the members of the Kitsap County Fair Board, there never would be a fair.
These volunteers work year-round to make sure that everything about the fair happens without any major problems.
Brady has been director of parking for 11 years. He’s been a volunteer with the fair for 14 years.
“I got involved when I was working for Chico Towing,” he said. “We donated our services to the fair, to tow cars when needed and help people who locked themselves out of their cars. I just had to much fun, I took on the role of parking director.”
A Tacoma native, he’s been in Kitsap County for almost 30 years. He did attend the Kitsap County fair prior to being on the board and thinks it’s a great opportunity to have family fun.
In all, 10,000 cars are parked during the five days of the fair. He oversees the people who are directly involved with pointing drivers to their spots.
“We issue a contract for services each year,” he said. “It’s my job to ride herd over them. The parking areas are very tight.”
This year the contract was awarded to Kitsap Chordsmen, an organization of barbershop quartet singers who perform throughout the area.
“I met with them recently and they tell me they’ll have anywhere from 30 to 35 members working every day of the fair,” he said.
The Kitsap County Fair Board was established by the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners in 1965. The fair board was established to advise, guide and assist in the development and operation of the annual Kitsap County Fair.
The Kitsap County Fair Board acts as the community liaison with respect to planning and operations of the annual Kitsap County Fair. The fair board meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Eagle’s Nest located at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds at 1195 NW Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton.
Members are unpaid volunteers from throughout Kitsap County who are appointed to the county commissioners. Terms are three years for each area of responsibility.
Those areas include parking, commercial exhibits, entertainment, admissions, livestock, still exhibits, rodeo, security and concessions.
Currently Brady serves as president and parking director; Maureen Stroble is vice president and director of commercial exhibits; Diana Pheasant is entertainment director; Danise Barnes is admissions director; Linda Moran is the still exhibits director; Cassie O’Hara is livestock director; Joe Drouin is director of the rodeo; George Serreno Jr., is director of security; and Doug Dillion is concessions director.
“All of these people are volunteers,” said board member Cassie O’Hara, who has been director of livestock for years. “Nobody gets paid anything and for most of them, during fair week, it’s a 24-7 thing.”
One of the responsibilities of each director is to find enough volunteers to man their section of the fair during the days the fair is going on. For example, with the livestock area, they oversee more than 500 animals and there are 13 superintendents and 13 assistant superintendents.
“Some people think that each animal has its own caretaker — the person who entered it,” she said. “But many times a person enters more than one animal, maybe even three or four. That’s where our volunteers come in, to make sure they are all cared for.”
All fair directors spend the week of the fair at the fair, Brady said.
“We have to be there to deal with a variety or personalities,” he said. “Kids, parents, vendors and John Q. Public. There’s always a fire to put out.”
And because of that there is a “fair board corner,” an undisclosed location where fair board members can go to get away for a few minutes.
“We meet there every morning before the fair begins and make sure everyone’s on the same page,” he said. “And it’s kind of our place to hide when we need that.”