Recent local blog posts

One Week Left for Thurston County Fair Pre-sale Discounts

Thurston Talk - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:40pm


Submitted by The Thurston County Fair

DDM Thurston County Fair-33If you want to beat the stampede and get savings for the whole herd, you’ll have to hurry—discounts on advance purchase carnival armbands for this year’s fair end on Tuesday, July 29.

Get your biggest savings with your advance purchase of carnival ride armbands for only $19 each—that’s $5 off the regular price. Carnival armbands are good for unlimited carnival rides for one day during the 2014 fair that runs Wednesday, July 30 through Sunday, August 3. Season passes are also bargain at 40 percent off the full price daily admission rate. Family Passes will get you five admissions for $25 when purchased in advance, but Family Pass supplies are limited, so get yours today. Remember, admission for children 5 years old and under is always free! All advance purchase passes and carnival armbands are available only at the Thurston County Fair Office in Lacey. For even more savings, bring your carnival armband on July 30 for “One Buck Wednesday.” All adult, youth and senior admission prices are just $1 with a non-perishable food donation per person to the Thurston County Food Bank. Doors open at 10 a.m. on One Buck Wednesday. Be sure to check out all of the One Buck Wednesday specials, including one buck food specials, and other One Buck Wednesday deals at participating vendors. Kid’s Day is Thursday, July 31 when all admission tickets for kids 6 to 14 years old are just $2 when purchased at the gate. August 1 is also Buddy Day when you can get two carnival armbands for $24 if you and a buddy are both present at the time of purchase (no advance purchase available for Buddy Day special). Friday, August 1 is Military Appreciation Day at the fair, when fairgoers can get $2 admission tickets when they present their military ID at the gate. There are also lots of other vendor and food deals—just ask about Military Appreciation Day specials and present your military ID.   Discount Advance Purchase Fair Passes & Carnival Ride Armbands
  • One-day unlimited carnival rides armband advance purchase — $19  Ends July 29! (gate price $24; ride tickets $1.25 each)
  • Family Pass (limited quantities available, buy now!) — $25
  • Season Pass (40 percent off the daily admission rate) — $10 to $21
  • *Children ages 5 and under are always FREE!
On sale now through Tuesday, July 29 at the Thurston County Fair Office at 3054 Carpenter Road SE in Lacey, 98503. To learn more about 2014 fair events, entertainment and exhibits, contact the Thurston County Fair Office at (360) 786-5453 or visit   “Fun for the Whole Herd at the Thurston County Fair!” July 30 – Aug. 3

Mental Health Access Program Set to Transition to The Olympia Free Clinic

Thurston Talk - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:36pm



Submitted by CHOICE Regional Health Network

The Mental Health Access Program, a free mental health counseling clinic serving Thurston and Mason counties, is set to transition August 1, 2014. The program is a community-developed project that began in 2007, and has been administered by CHOICE Regional Health Network since that time. The Olympia Free Clinic will assume program leadership in August.

The Mental Health Access Program was established in Thurston County to meet the demands of uninsured and under-insured residents who need access to counseling services. The program was built on a brief intervention therapy model serving adults experiencing anxiety or depression symptoms. Licensed mental health professionals volunteer their time and services at the clinic.

Not only does this program provide counseling services; it also helps clients who need assistance navigating community resources fulfill their most basic needs. Several years ago, the clinic expanded the service area to include adult residents in Mason County. Until July, these sessions were held weekly at the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department.

The decision to transition the program was prompted by the desire to better integrate mental health and physical health services for community members experiencing anxiety and depression symptoms. The transition also reflects a shift in emphasis by CHOICE Regional Health Network toward health care quality improvement initiatives that are regional in scope. In looking for an organization that already works closely with many of the individuals who benefit from the program, The Olympia Free Clinic was the logical destination. The Olympia Free Clinic operates several clinics focused on primary care, women’s health, physical therapy/chiropractic, and massage. The individuals served by the Mental Health Access Program are some of the most vulnerable. By co-locating and integrating the mental health clinic into the primary care services offered by The Olympia Free Clinic, we anticipate that the individuals within the program will have access to a broad range of health-support resources that they need to move towards improved health.

Discussions between The Olympia Free Clinic and CHOICE were held in early spring and summer to develop a transition plan and timeline. The Mental Health Access Program has paused in seeing patients while focusing on the transition of the program. Effective August 1st, the clinic will reopen at the downtown location of The Olympia Free Clinic, which will assume all administrative responsibilities at that time.

“We are pleased to see the program transition to The Olympia Free Clinic,” said Winfried Danke, CHOICE’s Executive Director. “The program will be strengthened through better integration with primary care and other support services, and that is great news for the individuals served by this program.”

Paula Rauen, The Olympia Free Clinic’s Executive Director said, “Adding the Mental Health Access Program to The Olympia Free Clinic’s array of services will be a great benefit to our patients. This merger supports our holistic approach to providing quality health care to those most in need.”

Under CHOICE’s management, the Mental Health Access Program provided care to 469 individuals over the span of seven years. Over 49 volunteers gave 5,480 hours of their time to help some of the most vulnerable community members navigate the difficult road toward a healthier future. The value of services donated exceeds $740,000.

Connect to Services

Call Shanti Herzog at (360) 359-3346 to receive counseling services through the Mental Health Access Program at The Olympia Free Clinic located at 108 State Ave NW; Olympia, WA; 98501.

About CHOICE Regional Health Network

CHOICE Regional Health Network is a nonprofit collaborative of member organizations dedicated to improving community health in Central Western Washington through collective planning and action of health care leaders. For more information click here.

About The Olympia Free Clinic

The Olympia Free Clinic exists so that low-income, uninsured people in Thurston County have access to cost- effective, quality, acute health care and linkages to appropriate community resources. For more information, click here.


Saint Martin’s University and Japanese Sister School Mukogawa Celebrate 30 Years Exchange Program

Thurston Talk - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:27pm



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

St. Martin's celebrates a 30 year partnership with Mukogawa Women’s University.

St. Martin’s celebrates a 30 year partnership with Mukogawa Women’s University.

Long before international and intercultural exchange activities became  a regular part of life at Saint Martin’s, the presidents of Saint Martin’s University, then a college, and Mukogawa Women’s University in Nishinomiya, Japan, forged a sister-school relationship that is still going strong today.

This summer, the two universities will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their summer cultural exchange agreement, which has enabled students on both sides of the Pacific to personally experience and learn about another culture, language and way of life.

A 30th Anniversary celebration will mark the occasion on August 14 at the Norman Worthington Conference Center.  More than 100 guests are expected to attend the event. Guests will include host families, student cultural ambassadors, visiting students from Mukogawa, and U.S. students.  Hirotoshi Yano, chief professor of Mukogawa’s education department, will be traveling to Saint Martin’s especially for the anniversary celebration.

“Our relationship with Mukogawa is particularly important, as it started the Saint Martin’s tradition of promoting educational partnerships and intercultural exchange with higher education institutions in other parts of the world,” says Josephine Yung, vice president of international programs and development. “It serves as a model of successful cultural exchange that connects people to people, and provides wonderful and exciting opportunities for young people from all over the world.”

Yung says the exchange program with Mukogawa was started in 1984 by then president of Saint Martin’s President John Ishii, Ph.D., Washington state’s first Asian-American college president, and Mukogawa President Akira Kusaka.  Both considered promotion of international understanding and intercultural friendships a crucial part of preparing their students to live and work in an increasingly interconnected world.  The legacy of both presidents lives on, even though both presidents have died.

Each year, about 30 to 40 young women from Mukogawa – most of them early childhood education majors – come to Saint Martin’s for the summer program. Included are workshops and learning experiences, sightseeing, a weekend stay with a local host family, fieldtrips to daycare centers, libraries and other institutions, a cultural celebration – and of course, shopping. They live in Saint Martin’s residence halls, dine in the cafeteria and get to know U.S. students, experiences that give them a window into life in the United States.  Close to 1,000 students from Mukogawa Women’s University have participated in cultural exchange with Saint Martin’s students the last 30 years, Yung said.

What began as a single exchange paved the way for other sister university relationships for Saint Martin’s. The University now has educational and cultural exchange with other Japanese schools, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Northern Ireland, England, France, Italy, Russia and most recently, Brazil.


LA Takedown, Nicholas Krgovich and Peter David Connelly

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:00pm

Tuesday, July 2 at 8:00pm

L.A Takedown ( featuring esteemed former Olympian Jessica Espeleta on tour with Nicholas Krgovich (No Kids, Mount Eerie, Nite Jewel) and Peter David Connelly will be joining us to balance out the deep, tinted L.A. summer heat vibrations with the perfect rope swing jump into that perfect PNW lake on your perfect summer day. Take off your shades and GET WET!

Facebook invite

july 22nd show

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Common Drugs and Light-Colored Eyes Can Increase Vulnerability to UV-Related Eye Disease

Thurston Talk - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 3:55pm



Submitted by Dr. Brian P. Finley for Clarus Eye Centre

Dr. Finley May - Clarus Eye Centre

Dr. Brian P. Finley – Clarus Eye Centre

The majority of Americans are unaware that taking common drugs and having light-colored eyes can make people more vulnerable to UV exposure, a contributing factor to certain eye diseases and conditions.

Studies have shown that, in addition to skin cancer, accumulated ultraviolet exposure from the sun can heighten the risk of eye diseases such as eye cancer and cataracts. Intense UV exposure can also cause temporary blindness known as photokeratitis, while extended sun exposure is linked to growths such as pterygiums, which can result in significant vision loss.

To assess how much Americans know about eye health risks posed by UV rays and what people do to protect themselves, the American Academy of Ophthalmology commissioned a national Harris Poll of more than 2,000 adults. The results revealed two major gaps in UV safety knowledge:

  • One-third of adults use medications that may increase photosensitivity, or increased susceptibility to damage from UV rays. However, 49 percent are unaware or do not believe those medications can cause photosensitivity. These photosensitizing drugs include antibiotics containing tetracycline or fluoroquinolones, some birth control and estrogen pills, and certain anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
  • More than half (54 percent) of Americans have light-colored eyes (blue, green, or hazel). Yet only 32 percent of those with light eyes and 29 percent of all polled know light eyes are more susceptible to UV damage. While people with eyes of any color can develop UV-related eye diseases, light eyes and sun exposure are associated with an increased risk of rare eye cancers, such as iris and uveal melanomas.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following tips to protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation:

  • Choose glasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. Use only glasses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays and that are labeled either “UV400” or “100% UV protection.” Don’t go by darkness of the lenses, which doesn’t indicate strength of UV protection. Close-fitting wraparound styles offer the best coverage.
  • Wear sunglasses even if it’s cloudy. Damaging UV rays go through clouds and can burn skin and eyes even when the sky is overcast.
  • Put a lid on it. Wear a hat with a wide brim as well as sunglasses and sunscreen. Studies have shown hats decrease the risk of eye disease related to extended UV exposure.
  • Pills and rays don’t always mix. Certain medications may cause increased sensitivity to sunlight, so take extra precautions if using those treatments.
  • Watch out for sun, sand, and water. When at the beach or in the pool, remember that rays reflected off sand, water, or pavement can burn your eyes.

Wearing 100% UV-protective sunglasses is one of the easiest and the most important things children and adults can do to protect their eye health. It isn’t just about fashion or comfort – it’s about preserving your sight! So make wearing sunglasses a priority, especially if you have light eyes, work outdoors, or take certain medications.



Centro Olympia Traverse Challenges Athletes

Thurston Talk - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 3:51pm



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

Athletes will bike, paddle, run and trek from Capital Forest to Port Plaza in the Centro Olympia Traverse on July 26. Join the cheering crowd at the Port Plaza finish line to see who comes in first in their division!

Solo, tandem, relay and company teams challenge themselves and one another on a course that highlights the recreational opportunities of the Olympia area. The journey is also designed to celebrate the life cycle of wild salmon through their natural and urban challenges.

The Port is proud to be a partner in the Centro Olympia Traverse. This year the event’s chosen beneficiary is Capitol Land Trust.

12:00 pm: Start at Capital Forest
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Watch at the traverse transitions
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm:
·        Watch the finishers at the Fish Tale Finish Line at Port Plaza
·        Hands On Children’s Museum hosts activities for the Kids of the Traverse
4:30 pm: Awards Ceremony at Port Plaza

Mountain Bike: 7.4 miles in Capitol Forest out of Mima Falls Trailhead
Road Bike: 22 miles from Capitol Forest, through The Evergreen State College campus to West Bay Park in downtown Olympia.
Paddle: 3.5 miles from West Bay Park around Budd Inlet to Swantown Boatworks
Run: 4.5 miles from Swantown out to Priest Point Park and back to East Bay Public Plaza.
Trek: .5 miles by teams from East Bay Public Plaza to Port Plaza.

For the traverse route and other information:

7/23 Music in the Park Concert Moved Due to Weather

Thurston Talk - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 3:39pm



Submitted by Olympia Downtown Association

Due to the high chance of inclement weather being forecast for tomorrow evening, the performance by Kim Archer Band has been moved the The Washington Center for the Performing Arts located just 1/2 block away from Sylvester Park at 512 Washington St. SE.

The Kim Archer Band will still perform from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. and concert admission remains FREE to the public.

Remember:  Parking is free after 5:00 p.m. in downtown Olympia (excluding Diamond Lots).

Known for her raw, powerhouse performances and personable interactions with her audience, Kim Archer has a large and loyal fan base in the PNW and across the country.  Kim’s music follows in the footsteps of the great female performers like Tina Turner, Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Raitt.

For more information on Music in the Park click here.

Star Hidra Unloading

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:09pm

Star Hidra
July 2014, Port of Olympia—Ship unloading incoming shipment of bagged ceramic proppant, which is used in the process of hydraulic fracturing for oil in the Bakken formation of North Dakota.


night video:

I haven't heard anyone object to the proppant trade bringing jobs. Maybe the real question is whether Thurston County can do better than supporting the fossil fuel industry. Imagine, could Thurston County be a leader in renewable, environmentally harmonious, sustainable energy production? logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Stratocumulus Clouds

Maria Mudd Ruth - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:32am
Stratocumulus clouds to the northwest of Olympia yesterday morning. The red lines (added by me) indicate the bases (bottoms) of these clouds.   (Photo by MM Ruth)

Stratocumulus clouds to the northwest of Olympia yesterday morning. The red lines (added by me) indicate the bases (bottoms) of these clouds.   (Photo by MM Ruth)

One of the more challenging aspects of watching the clouds is tricking your brain into believing, cloud-wise, that the earth is flat. I have to override my perception that the sky is a celestial dome covering the land from horizon to horizon like a huge mixing bowl covering a plate of brownies. It is not. 

Yesterday morning I was reminded of this when I noticed these stratocumulus clouds and their dark bases--the flat bottoms I have marked with red lines. Each of the red lines--hence, each cloud, is at the same altitude above the ground. It is.

The base of the cloud marks the condensation level--the altitude at which molecules of water vapor (the invisible gaseous form of water) in the atmosphere cool to the point at which the molecules slow down, condense, then glom onto each other to form liquid water droplets. When these droplets attain a certain size, they interact (refract, reflect, scatter) sunlight in such a way that they become visible to us.

How high all of these clouds? If you check the National Weather Service for July 21 at 10:54 a.m. (you cannot calculate this on your own),  you will learn that when I photographed these clouds, the temperature was 65 degrees F and the dew point (temperature at which water vapor condenses to liquid) was 49 degrees F. Subtract the second number from the first and you get 16. Multiply that by 228 and you get 4,648. This is the number of feet above the earth these clouds were floating. With enough practice I could imagine pointing to such clouds a few years from now and saying, "Look at the those strats!* I  bet they are nearly a mile high!"

Knowing how high these clouds are means knowing how high their bases are--not their tops. Stratocumulus is considered a "low" cloud type, with a a base hovers between 2,000 and 6,500 feet.

Read here how I figured all this out two years ago. Sort of.

*No one calls them "strats."

Categories: Local Environment

Cherries and the lavender air

The Plum Palate - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 8:13pm
  Since I didn’t know what to cook the other night, I asked my daughter to gather some lettuce from the kids’ garden. We have to eat it soon, I’m sure. We’ve had weeks of warm, dry weather. It may only be the patchy shade from the cherry tree that has, so far, kept it […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Leah Noble Davidson Reading

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 5:32pm
Event:  Sat, 07/26/2014 - 3:00pm - 4:30pm

From today's inbox:

Poetica Scientifica by Leah Noble Davidson
A Poetry Reading
Saturday, July 26th, 3:00 pm

Join us for an afternoon of poetry with a reading from Leah Noble Davidson's collection Poetica Scientifica, as well as poets Ross Robins and Brian Ellis and Brandon Speck.


Brian Stephen Ellis is a writer from Portland, Ore. He is the author of three collections of books; Uncontrolled Experiments in Freedom, Yesterday Won't Goodbye and American Dust Revisited. He was born at Eliot Hospital in Manchester N.H. at an unrecorded time of day.

Leah Noble Davidson has enthusiasm up the wahoo. Her debut book, Poetic Scientifica (published through University of Hell Press), was Powell's 3rd bestselling small press book of last year, and she currently produces Portland's Moth StorySLAM.

Ross Robbins is the founder of Bone Tax Press and Bone Tax Reading Series. His work has appeared in many print and online publications, including Ampersand Review, Vinyl Poetry, and Small Portions. His most recent chapbook, ALL IN BLACK BLOOD MY LOVE WENT RIDING, was recently published by Two Plum Press, and his full-length debut, MENTAL HOSPITAL: A MEMOIR, will be released by YesYes Books in 2015. Visit Ross online at logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

read more

Volunteer Meeting!

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 5:00pm

Volunteer meetings are always the third Monday of every month- come check us out! As always, ALL are welcome, that includes ALL AGES!


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Dame Darcy Art Auction!

K Records - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 2:21pm
The inimitable Dame Darcy is auctioning off precious artwork from the deeply satisfying comic book Meat Cake #7. This is a once in a life time opportunity to own a piece of the Cake! Go HERE to view the auction items and bid on a Dame Darcy original. Go HERE to view Dame Darcy‘s latest […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Dr. Louise Boxill at Hirsch Center for Integrative Medicine Now Accepting New Patients

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:19am



Submitted by Hirsch Center for Integrative Medicine

Born in Barbados, Dr. Boxill is from a family that lives very close to the land, believes in nurturing healthy relationships, and promoting healing by natural means when possible.

She chose to pursue degrees in Naturopathic Medicine and as a Nurse Practitioner because of her desire to serve, listen, teach, and coach women and families to reach their highest health goals and obtain appropriate tools to make informed choices for their own health and the future well being of their respective families and communities.

In her practice Dr. Boxill focuses on full-spectrum Family Medicine.

This includes -

Dr. Louise Boxill - Hirsch

Dr. Louise Boxill

Women’s Health

  • Annual Exams
  • Birth Control Options
  • Gynecologic Issues
  • Menopause, Peri- and Pre-menopausal Issues

Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement



Gastrointestinal Problems


Hormone Balancing

  • Thyroid
  • Adrenal
  • Sex Hormones
  • Homeopathy
  • Medical Acupuncture

When she is not at the office, Dr. Boxill enjoys dancing, singing, cooking, gardening, sewing, knitting/crochet, latch key, arts and crafts, outdoor time, family and friend gatherings, listening and making music, having a good laugh.

If you are searching for a new primary care provider or if you are interested in learning how integrative medicine can help you live your healthiest expression, schedule a free 15-minute meet-and-greet appointment.

To learn more about Dr. Boxill or about our unique integrative approach, go to Hirsch Center for Integrative Medicine.


Westport Winery Creates Wave of Hope

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:52am



Submitted by Westport Winery

Kim Roberts and Jeff Kramer the Vice President of Resource Development from Mercy Ships.

Kim Roberts and Jeff Kramer the Vice President of Resource Development from Mercy Ships.

As part of their outdoor sculpture garden Westport Winery has commissioned four new sculptures to commemorate their recently launched line of hard apple ciders benefitting Mercy Ships. All of these sculptures will be installed in the winery’s new Inspiration Garden. The four ciders are named Mercy, Courage, Grace and Hope. This new one acre garden will include many of the Roberts favorite inspirational quotes from such divergent sources as Emerson and Thoreau to Robert Heinlein and Dr. Seuss.

The first sculpture was designed by winery co-owner Kim Roberts and is titled Wave of Hope. “I wanted to create our own version of Tibetan prayer flags in front of our Dune Garden to resemble a breaking wave. We’ve woven high tensile wire through posts to form a modern take on the traditional waddle fence. At our August Aloha Festival we will ask our guests to write their messages of hope on ribbons we’re providing and then have guests tie them on the wire.”

This is not the first interactive sculpture in the winery’s extensive gardens. Last summer a musical fence was installed within their one acre grape maze. It is one of the many features that make this winery a unique destination for all ages.

The Roberts family has commissioned Elma artist Frank Ratte to create a sculpture for Courage, their apple and sweet dark cherry cider. Ratte, who owns Say It Westport Winery CiderWith Cement, has created two other sculptures in concrete for them previously. He first did Night Watch several years ago which is located within the Dune Garden. Last year he designed a Buddha for their Japanese Zen Garden.

North River artist, Sherryl Jackson, was asked to design the Mercy sculpture. Jackson, whose first piece called “Love” is located in the winery’s lavender labyrinth. Her second contribution to the public art display is “The Kiss” in the Formal French garden. She also created a garden cyclist with her Newfoundland in the English Cottage garden.

Jeffro Uitto of Tokeland has been asked to create the Grace sculpture. Uitto has contributed several pieces to the estate previously including a giant clam for Dawn Patrol in homage to the long gone Dunes Restaurant. He also replicated the guitar Kurt Cobain designed for Fender to commemorate the wine called Nirvana. He carved a self-portrait tiki for the Tropical Hawaiian Garden. And he carved the giant Wizard Chess Set in the Knot Garden.

The garden itself will be divided into eight segments with each dedicated to one of the winery’s Eastern Washington vineyards. A traditional Indian Medicine Wheel will be the centerpiece for the garden utilizing rocks from the various vineyards. The Roberts family have enlisted their friend and Cowlitz spiritual leader Roy Wilson to design the medicine wheel.

Tail Grace FrontThe winery’s gardens are open to all ages (and dogs on leash). It is free to tour the gardens. According to Kim Roberts, “We want to develop our gardens to become a destination of distinction similar to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. We have a very similar climate and we are easily accessible to those from Seattle and Portland, not to mention visitors from other areas.”

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea Gardens with the unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Westport Winery was named Best of the Northwest Wine Tour in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Westport’s award-winning wines are exclusively available at the winery. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market, plant nursery and bakery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery at 360-648-2224 or visit the website

Harlequin Production’s Scenes in Progress: Student Showcase

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:30am



Submitted by Harlequin Productions

Harlequin - Youth ProgramThe students of Harlequin Productions’ Conservatory for Young Actors have spent six weeks studying subjects including Scene Work, Voice & Diction, Movement, Monologue, Classical Acting & Rehearsing, Shakespeare, Improvisation, Stage Combat, Costume Design, Set Design, Sound Design, Lighting Design, and more! On July 30, these students will present their final showcase performance: Scenes in Progress.

The showcase will include performances of eight scenes that the students have been working on for weeks, followed by the entire 5 act of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a particularly challenging piece of theater that will demand all the skills they’ve gained in the Conservatory – including swordfighting! Program Coordinator/Instructor Maggie Lofquist and Instructor Christian Doyle describe the showcase as the students’ chance to display the skills they’ve gained during an intensive six weeks of hard work. The event is open to the public and Harlequin is encouraging anyone to attend who’d like to be amazed by the work of the students and cheer them on!

The event begins at 7:00 PM on Wednesday July 30th at the State Theater. It is free to attend but space is limited. Please call the Box Office to reserve your tickets at 360/786-0151.

WHO:        Harlequin Productions

WHAT:      Scenes in Progress

WHEN:      Wednesday July 30th at 7:00 PM

WHERE:    The Historic State Theater – 202 4th Avenue East, Downtown Olympia 98501

PRICE:      Free – call ahead to reserve your tickets (space is limited)

TICKETS:  Call for tickets and info: 360/786-0151 or visit

Harlequin Productions is a professional not-for-profit theater company in Olympia, WA, dedicated to the creation of stimulating and enriching theatrical experiences by producing an eclectic season of new works, “buried treasures,” and unconventional treatments of classics. Through a dynamic selection of extraordinary material, we explore the human adventure in search of theatrical magic that stretches the mind, nourishes the soul, and inspires human empathy.


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

First Fair Contest Due Dates Approaching Fast

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:24am



Submitted by Thurston County Fair

Home Arts, Preserves, Beverages Due July 21 Several open class contest entries are Monday, July 21 at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. Be sure to get your open class home arts, preserves and beverage entries in for your chance to win!
  • Open Class Home Arts: Monday, July 21 from 3–7 p.m. Let your spectacular sewing, needle art and fiber art do the talking in dozens of home arts contests. Quilt blocks for the 2014 Quilt Block Contest are also due today. Check the 2014 Exhibitor’s Guide for a complete list of categories and requirements.
  • Open Class Beverages: Monday, July 21 from 3-7 p.m. Ales, beers, ciders and wines are all welcome in the beverage contests. Check the 2014 Exhibitor’s Guide for a complete list of categories.
  • Open Class Preserved Foods: Monday July 21 from 3-7 p.m.  Enter your canned fruits and vegetables, pickles, sauces, jams and jellies, vinegars, meats, and dehydrated foods, plus many more preserved foods. Check the 2014 Exhibitor’s Guide for a complete list of categories. Open Class Preserved Foods are also accepted Monday, July 28.
It’s not too late to enter the fair’s new Tattoo Art Contest or to register your collectible treasure for the Antiques Appraisal event. But hurry, the fair’s opening day is almost here!
  • NEW! Tattoo Art Contest on Saturday, Aug. 2 at 4 p.m. Local tattoo artists will be showcasing their incredible skill this year at the fair. The contest on Heritage will be tons of fun with serious prizes—cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in contests for permanent tattoos and temporary tattoos. It’s not too late to enter!—contact Fair Board President Ann Shipley at (360) 791-6086 to learn more.
  • Antiques Appraisal event on Friday, Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. A professional appraiser will entertain and inform with analysis and evaluation of collectibles and antiques provided by local residents. There is no fee to enter an antique or collectible item for appraisal, but all antiques owners must be present at the August 1 event and pay gate admission for the fair. It’s not too late to enter!—contact Fair Board President Ann Shipley at (360) 791-6086 to learn more.

Advisory Posted at Burfoot Park Beach

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:21am


Submitted by Thurston County

Beach remains open, but advisory signs posted   Thurston County health officials are posting swimming advisory signs at the beach at the Burfoot Park as a precaution after recent testing showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water. The beach is not closed, but health officials are recommending that people and pets stay out of the water. “We want park visitors to be aware of the situation and use their best judgment about whether they go in the water or stay dry,” said Art Starry, Director of the county’s Environmental Health Division. “The health risk at Burfoot Beach is relatively low for most people, but there is a slightly higher risk of illness for young children and people with compromised immune systems, so we’re reaching out to make sure people can make informed decisions.” Health officials also recommend that nearby beachfront property owners avoid contact with the water until tests show that bacteria levels have dropped. All other facilities and areas at Burfoot Park are unaffected and are open to the public, including the trails, picnic areas and playground. For more information on protecting yourself, your family and your pets from common swimming and water-borne illnesses, visit the county health department’s web page at For more information about wastewater treatment and how the Washington State Department of Ecology protects and monitors Washington’s waterways, visit  You can also get updates from the Washington State Department of Ecology blog called “ECOconnect” at


The History of the Thurston County Fair: Bringing the Community Together Since 1871

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 7:07am



By Gale Hemmann

thurston county fairImagine it’s the year 1871. As you rode to the fair with your family in your horse-drawn wagon, you would probably be excited. This was the first local fair and a big deal. Washington was not yet a state, and the fair aimed to get settlers excited about moving to the area by showcasing the best livestock, industry and other goods Washington Territory had to offer. You could look forward to seeing a poultry exhibit, dancing, and socializing.

Fast-forward to 2014. We enjoy the Thurston County Fair every year for its elephant ears, live music and modern carnival rides. We also still enjoy echoes of earlier days, such as 4-H animal exhibits, crafts, and baked goods. While it may be a popular local attraction (drawing over 30,000 visitors a year), few people know about its long and storied history.

thurston county fair history

Members of the South Bay Girls Canning Club pose with their homemade goods at the fair in the early twentieth century. Photo Courtesy of Ann Shipley

Did you know that the fair has been held in 17 different locations? Or that, in the early days, you could win a ribbon for the “best bowl of oatmeal?” I learned this, and many other facts, by talking with Ann Shipley, the Fair Board President.

A Labor of Love: Unearthing the History of the Fair

Shipley has spent over a decade capturing the Thurston County Fair’s history. She spent ten years researching and writing a book about it, and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. I ventured out to the fairgrounds to meet with Shipley on a busy pre-fair day this summer.

She’s been involved with the fair since 1976, when her daughter was in 4-H. Shipley has served as a volunteer on the Fair Board for over twenty years. She says a conversation about the fair’s origins sent her searching through decades of microfiche at the local library.

Serving as fair historian has been a labor of love. She says what’s most fun about the project has been all the quirky facts she’s found along the way. She also notes that the fair reflects changes in technology over the years, from the advent of the car to the modern sewing machine.

Shipley showed me around the fair museum, a small building on the fairgrounds that is definitely worth a visit. Among the carefully-preserved items are historic photos and fair ribbons dating back to the 1930s.

So, ThurstonTalk readers, I invite you to enter a time machine with me. Can you imagine being at the fair during each of these years?

thurston county fair history

Live animal exhibits were a huge draw at early fairs. These ostriches were exhibited at the 1913 fair, which was held where the Lacey Post Office now stands. Photo Courtesy of Ann Shipley

Through the Years – Thurston County Fair Highlights:

  • 1871: The first fair is held in the Columbus Building, now the home of the 4th Ave Tavern in downtown Olympia. (You can still see “Columbus Building” engraved above the doorway today.) The upstairs was filled with exhibits of birds and fowl, including Captain Percival’s pet cockatoo. Downstairs, fair-goers could take in agricultural exhibits and dance.
  • 1874: The fair is held at Sylvester Park (then called Town Square). Large livestock arrive for the first time. Entertainment included both horse races and foot races. Captain Percival exhibited his famous cranberries.
  • 1876: In the year the phone was invented, the fair was robust with contests offering cash prizes. You could win the category of “best handmade shoes,” “best two-horse wagon,” or “best collection of canaries.” Reflecting tastes of the period, you could also win “best catsup and chow chow” (a pickled vegetable dish) or “best variety of pickled fish.” Whether it was woolen stockings, bricks, or model ships, the fair had a category for just about everything. Prizes ranged from $1.00 for “best crochet shawl” to $2.00 for “best display of candies and confections” to $5.00 for “best collection of grain.”
  • 1879: A newspaper advertisement tells us that you can enjoy a “grand display” on the “superb fair grounds near Olympia.” You are promised “trials of speed” by horses over “one of the finest race courses on the West Coast.”
  • 1881: After a decade of construction, the first fairgrounds were completed, where the Tumwater Safeway now sits.
  • 1882: A baseball tournament is held with cash prizes. An ad boasts that “ample provision has been made for the display of mechanical handiwork, farm products and livestock.”
  • 1884: The fair is held in Chehalis, and will be the last fair held for over a decade.
  • 1891-1901: No fair is held locally. Local residents sent their wares to be judged at bigger fairs in Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.
  • 1912: The same year that the Titanic sinks, the Washington chapter of 4-H is established, which will be a staple of the fair for over a century to come.
  • 1913: Everyone’s focus is on World War I. The fair is held at the site of today’s Lacey Post Office, where the Wonderwood Track once stood.
  • 1926: The Thurston County Fair is back after over a decade of hiatus. It is held in Tenino, where it will stay for several years. In 1927, the fair closes with a wedding ceremony for a local couple.
  • 1937-1946: During World War II and its aftermath, it is difficult to hold a fair, but 4-H groups hold camps at Millersylvania State Park and local schools instead. The fair is renamed “Harvest Festival.” The official fair is back in 1946.
  • 1956: With Elvis topping the charts, the 1956 fair was held at the South Bay Grange. A newspaper advertisement boasted that the fair would have “253 animals” on display and “rides for the children.”
  • thurston county fair history

    This fair advertisement from 1960 cheerfully entices fair-goers with promises of many animals and exhibits. While times have changed, these two elements of the fair have remained popular. Photo Courtesy of Ann Shipley

    1957: The fair concludes with an “all livestock parade,” which is a huge hit – there were over 630 4-H entries.

  • 1958: The fair is moved to its current location near Long Lake, where it has been ever since.
  • 1964: The fair builds the innovative new Cloverleaf Building. Shaped like a four-leaf clover, the building is unique but presents many architectural challenges, and is soon dismantled.
  • 1970: During the year the Beatles disbanded, the food court was built on the fairgrounds. A pet porcupine escaped an exhibit and was not found.
  • 1970s: A highlight of the fair during this decade was the landing of a hang-glider on the fair grounds. The fair board voted to purchase a then-high-tech adding machine for the fair manager.
  • 1976: In honor of the United States Bicentennial, the play 1776 was performed twice at the fair.
  • 1983: The Miss Thurston County pageant was held on Opening Day at the fair.
  • 1990s: During the decade of the internet’s rise, the Horticulture Building is added to the fair and the Horse Arena is updated. A layered cake contest is held.
  • 2000s: In 2003, “Pocket Pets” are added as a new 4-H animal category. Dog exhibits are gaining popularity, and a “homemade dog biscuit” category is featured one year. The new air-conditioned Expo Hall is built.

Bringing the Fair into the Modern Age

As the Fair staff and volunteers ramp up for the 2014 fair (July 30-August 3), they have both traditional and modern points of interest planned for you.

Shipley notes that it is an exciting challenge to bridge the traditional and the new, and to keep appealing to new segments of the community. This year, alongside the classic 4-H exhibits and rides, you will also find a first-ever tattoo contest. There will also be an “Author’s Corner” showcasing local writers and a “bee-friendly garden.”

thurston county fair

The Thurston County Fair has featured rides such as the carousel since at least the 1950s. Though there weren’t cell phones with cameras then, the children’s delight has no doubt remained the same. Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Fair

So, as you take in the fair this year with your friends or family, take a moment to step back in time in your imagination. Enjoy browsing the museum, and the chance to discuss this piece of local history with kids (or just impress friends with your knowledge). You can learn more about the fair’s history here, and by purchasing Shipley’s book, Memories: The History of the Thurston County Fair.

Shipley notes that the fair would love to gather even more photos and memorabilia from past fairs for their collection. If you have any items of interest, you can contact the fair office.

A sign that the fair is thoroughly in the modern era? You can check out their website or “like” their Facebook page.

Thurston County Fair – “Fun for the Whole Herd”

July 30-August 3, 2014

At the Thurston County Fairgrounds

Get information about admission here and view the daily event calendar here.


Nothing about LakeFair. You should all be proud (Olyblogosphere for July 20, 2014)

Olympia Time - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 6:27am
1. It isn't just LakeFair that makes us tick. There were some great things at Pride too.

2. Ken obviously let's people write without using their real names. This particular post seems to toe the line of acting like a kid in civil discourse. And, reminds us that the entire isthmus planning group is a poorly held public secret.

3. I usually like local blog talking about local things, but one other will do. This time a local blog talks about cultural appropriation.

I should note here that the original poster found it useful to say something to the tune of “most Africans are doing it wrong”. If anyone is doing it “right”, I’d say it’s them. His whole rant was … startling. Now, I am not disparaging this young man at all. He was speaking most vehemently based on the information he had. There is a lot of misinformation out there on the internet and I can’t fault him for falling prey to some of it In fact, I remain strangely unemotional about the whole exchange. But it did set me to thinking…

Should I be angry that someone from a culture other than my own is telling me about my culture in authoritative ways? I am not. I am … simply pondering a world in which this happens so regularly that we can’t even recognise it.
  4. Who can just take away a park from members of our community, who just happen to be homeless?
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