SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Interstate Fair kicks off it's 66th year on Friday morning, but wildfire smoke trapped in the region threatens to interfere with the fun.
“It's not what we had planned on that's for sure, but, yeah we are encouraged by the fact that it looks as though it's going to be improving for the weekend,” said fair director Rich Hartzell.
Hartzell isn't too disheartened by the smoke because the fair runs for 10 days. Though a smoky opening weekend would be less than ideal, if conditions begin to clear over the next few days, the fair still has another week to bring in fair-goers and ticket sales.
“We would encourage people, if it is better, come out now while you know everything is looking good and if it stays that way then by all means come back and take in other activities during the week and the following weekend,” Hartzell said.
Other events throughout the region don't have that option. Several athletic events or practices have already been canceled this week and weekend. Grant County's annual Battle of the Badges, a softball match-up between Moses Lake Police Department and the Grant County Sheriff's Officehas been postponed because of the air quality.
Tinnabulation, a music festival making its debut in Riverfront Park this weekend, is still on. KXLY spoke to staff over the phone- they said if the air quality remains poor on Friday, the decision remains with the artists.
That's the attitude the fair takes, too. Whether skies clear or not, the fair will be open. The decision to attend remains with the people.
“The plan is full steam ahead, we will take it a day at a time and if conditions are such that we need to modify something, we will do that but at this point in time it's full speed ahead,” Hartzell said.
If the Labor Day weekend crowds at Pig Out in the Park, or Monday's Spokane Symphony concert provide any example, the people of Spokane appear more likely to brave the smoke- than other weather events.
“My first year here we had eight days of rain out of 10. So quite honestly I'll take a little bit of smoke for a couple days over that,” Hartzell said.