Capital Lakefair opened at noon Wednesday under a blanket of clouds.
But the raindrops stayed at bay throughout the afternoon.
“This is perfect weather,” said Veronica Kaliman, a marketing representative who handed out T-shirts, hats and other free gear at Lakefair to promote the Skokomish Tribe’s Lucky Dog Casino in Mason County.
Lakefair executive director Bob Barnes said attendance was up for this year’s opener compared with last year’s, and other than a few minor hiccups, everything went fine.
“We blew a 200-amp circuit breaker this morning on the food court,” he said, adding that crews were able to fix it in plenty of time for the lunch crowd.
The five-day festival, based on the shores of Capitol Lake in Olympia, continues today with the queen coronation and ever-popular “bracelet day” for midway rides.
“For $25 you can ride till you’re sick, or ride till you can’t walk,” Barnes said with a laugh.
On Wednesday, scores of volunteers from the Church of Living Water in Lacey picked up trash, wiped down tables and even helped find parking spots for visitors. The church organized crews to help throughout the festival, said volunteer Jacqueline Romain of Lacey.
“We’re here to help the community,” she said. “… We just try to make sure everything is nice, and safe.”
As in past years, parking was a challenge. But the opening-day lines were short; in some cases they were nonexistent.
Some people check out the vendors first, often stopping for free samples of flavored olive oil, smoked salmon and other goods.
Jaime Gomez, 30, of Olympia, and her family started their day with carnival rides and games.
“It’s slow, which is good because we didn’t have the yucky lines,” she said.
Gomez’s 6-year-old daughter, Madison McLucas, and 5-year-old nephew Aiden Gomez, jumped up and down as they talked about their favorite ride: the Spider.
“That was the best ride ever,” he said.
“I want to go again,” she chimed in.
And then there’s the group of people who can’t resist the temptation of fair food, from onion burgers and garlic fries to Yakisoba noodles and strawberry shortcake. Most of the food booths are operated by local nonprofit organizations, and Lakefair is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.
For more information, go to www.lakefair.org.