ILWACO - People were being brought in by the busload last weekend to the Cranberrian Fair.
Each year the event attracts hundreds from near and far to the annual celebration of all things cranberry. There was a shuttle ride to the Cranberry Museum with its cranberry bogs, to the World Kite Museum and then on to the Port of Ilwaco. There were vendors, exhibits, music, and of course, there was food.
For the nominal fee of three dollars, fairgoers gained a Cranberrian Fair button, their pass to the world of cranberries and their ticket for the shuttle ride.
Visitors were greeted at the entrance of the Ilwaco Heritage Museum with free samples of cranberry juice. Volunteer Cherry Harding had two varieties of juice available, the classic cranberry style juice and a new peach white-cranberry juice. Both the juices were from Ocean Spray. She said the kids really enjoyed the sweeter, peach white-cranberry juice, but many adults were traditionalists and preferred the red juice.
Down the hall, past wall exhibits of the cranberry's history and uses, visitors entered the fair's main exhibit hall. All manner of goodies were available. There were dolls and jewelry enough for Tiffany's, glassware and woven scarves.
Everyone seemed to be having a good time browsing.
Pam Abas and her companion Mort Shafer had taken a tour bus from Seattle to visit the event.
"This museum and this fair is tops," said the bright-eyed and gregarious 79-year-old. "The museum is so well done."
"There's so much to see," said Shafer. "She went all over and didn't even see the shoes."
Yes, there were even shoes. Abas pirked up at the mention of the shoes and they headed around the hall again, Shafer steering Abas toward her goal. The pair planned on visiting the cranberry bogs later in the day.
Once again, the peach-cranberry pie booth was a big success.
Nancy Olson, who is with the American Association of University Women, said the pie booth was a fund-raising event. The money goes toward scholarships for girls who are interested in pursuing degrees in math, science and engineering.
The pies are sold either whole or by the slice, and come either with or without nuts.
"A lot of people, especially the locals, come by and get whole pies," Olson said.
This year the organization made 99 pies. Olson said each person in the organization used to bake one or two pies, but now they enjoy all getting together and baking them all at once.
"I think we're doing great," she said. "We're selling a lot of whole pies."
Andy and Lora Woodruff also stopped by the booth for a slice of pie. They had worked up an appetite earlier in the day at the Great Columbia Crossing, the 10K Astoria bridge walk and run. This was the first time they had tried the pie.
"It's delicious," said Lora. "nice and tart."
The Cranberry Museum in Long Beach was also full of visitors. People were lined up in the gift shop buying everything from cranberry shortbread cookies, handmade locally at the Hedgehaven Bakeries in Ilwaco, to cranberry jams, candles, and wreaths.
Visitors wandered around the exhibits showing the history of cranberry growing in the area. There were also old harvesting equipment, drying racks, and pictures with explanatory text.
In the meeting room tables were set up and live music was playing. People were enjoying hamburgers made with cranberries, as well as pastries and cookies.
Outside, in the beautiful Sunday sunshine the bogs were flooded and the cranberries floated to the top of the water awaiting harvest.
"I didn't even know they grew cranberries up here," said Stacey Boyle, a newcomer to the area. She had recently relocated from Nevada. It was her first time visiting the Cranberrian Fair. She said watching the harvest was her favorite part of the event.
"The harvest part was really interesting," Boyle said.
Friday's storms apparently kept the number of fairgoers low, but by Saturday the tour shuttle was kept busy moving people back and forth between the numerous attractions. Sunday's sunshine also encouraged people to get out and see the bogs.
Totals for the number of fair attendees will not be available until Tuesday.