The in basket: I’ll take a road trip to Shelton for this column,
which is about as road-related as it will get. I hope it interests
some readers. It’s about the changing face of Sanderson airfield,
home for years to the Mason County Fair and Rodeo and the
OysterFest, one of my favorite festivals.
The fairground improvements are due for demolition, possibly
early next year and though it means a new location for the Oyster
Fest and the rodeo, it may be the end of the fair.
A sign at the overflow parking area at this year’s
OysterFest said it would be the site of the 2015 OysterFest. The
event program showed the relationship between the old and new
grounds, both on airport property and a half-mile apart.
A volunteer in the OysterFest information booth said the new
site, an inactive airplane runway, will be an improvement over the
old, which involves a long narrow approach road that made traffic
Wendy Smith, deputy director of the port of Shelton, which owns
both properties and Sanderson Field’s active airstrip in between,
said a 50-year lease Mason County had for use of the fairgrounds
area expired last December and the county quit paying the lease
amounts in 2009. It also turned running the fair over to others
She said the fairgrounds area is “designated aviation reserve.
It’s supposed to be for aeronautic used only.” It may eventually be
the site of aircraft hangars.
She said the rodeo has acquired a new site a distance north on
Highway 101, but she didn’t know what the fair has planned.
County Commissioner Terri Jeffreys said she hadn’t heard of a
new site for the fair, which the county no longer operates. She
said the fair didn’t apply for a marketing grant for the coming
year, as it has in the past.
She understands that the Skookum Rotary, which stages the mostly
volunteer OysterFest, is looking for a permanent site and the
inactive runway is to be just temporary.
Fair Board member Leilani Dixon said the last she heard no
alternative land for the fair had been identified and that there is
little land with the proper zoning for the fair. She referred me to
the fair president, who didn’t call me back.
As an aside, on the way to Shelton, we saw dozens of
tall piles of logging slash alongside Highway 3 between
Grapeview and Agate Road. Each was capped with a clear
plastic sheet, which looked kind of like a yarmulke, covering only
the peak of the pile beneath. We wondered about their purpose, as I
suspect others who drive there do. They’d keep rain off only a
portion of each pile.
The answer awaited us at the OysterFest, where the Department of
Natural Resources had a booth.
One of the DNR employees said he lives near the piles and knows
that keeping the core of the piles dry is all that is needed. When
wet weather comes, the piles will be burned, with the dry cores
ignited and producing enough heat to ensure destruction of the