An assortment of neatly wrapped, pastel-colored soaps and balms lined Cherri Rosean’s picnic tables as for the first time she sold her handmade products at the Spokane County Interstate Fair.
“I’m slowly growing my business so I plan on having a lot more,” Rosean said Sunday. “I started as a hobby back in February, and I just was giving them as gifts for holidays to family and friends, and they actually talked me into going into selling them.”
Rosean’s business, Cherry Rose Boutique, started in Tyler, Washington, though Rosean has traveled throughout the county at smaller events. On Sunday, she had a spot on the grass near other artisan vendors during the county fair.
For the first time since summer 2019, the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center saw scores of adults, kids and teenagers – mostly unmasked – who could once again enjoy the festival in person this weekend. Fair rides clattered along metal tracks with cars filled with riders, henna artists traced intricate patterns on fairgoers and salty smells of fair food floated from sizzling grills in the late afternoon Sunday.
Rosean said most of her customers had been unmasked, but she was not worried because she took precautions.
“It was a quick process and I had a lot to do, but as far as being comfortable, I knew what to expect,” Rosean said. “I’ve got hand sanitizer bottles on the table and I know, starting tomorrow, they’re going to have us wear masks outside as well as inside.”
Starting Monday, attendees of the fair will have to wear a face covering for entry, after Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday a mask mandate for outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more.
This comes as state officials and health experts attempt to mitigate a recent sharp rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, with the Spokane County Interstate Fair one of several that remained open with some restrictions in place.
Rosean said she was happy about the mandates because it avoided the closure of vendors like hers, which is her only way of selling products because she does not have a separate store location.
“I know a lot of people are still iffy and stuff with everything, and I know there’s a lot of debate going back and forth since some people are against it and a lot of people are for it,” Rosean said. “I’m kind of glad they did, though, because Spokane needed something to be able to get people and businesses back on their feet.”
Though she said she was not used to larger events as a smaller creator, Rosean said she saw more customers Saturday and Sunday than the first day of the fair on Friday.
“It’s been kind of like a roller coaster ride, you get your ups and you get your downs,” Rosean said.
The fair will stay open until Sunday. Children under 6 get in for free. A $10 entry fee applies to children ages 7 to 13, seniors older than 65 and those with valid military IDs. There is a $13 entry fee for adults. On-site parking costs $5.