A few of us met two years ago in August to decide if we should start our own chapter. We asked the question, “How do we get the word out to see how much interest there is?” We decided the best way to do this was to the attend the upcoming local fairs – Wheatland Communities Fair in Ritzville over Labor Day weekend, the Palouse Empire Fair outside of Colfax the following weekend and the Adams County Fair in Othello the weekend after that. We were fortunate to still be able to get booth space for the first two fairs and to share with the Coulee Corridor (at no cost) for the last one. We quickly rounded up pictures, maps, and books to fill our first booth. We talked to a lot of interested people and signed up new members for our chapter.
This year we decided to do the three weeks of fairs again. The Coulee Corridor allowed us to use part of their booth again to help out our fledgling chapter – we will be able to go solo next year. There are a number of good reasons to take the time and expense to do these fairs.
- We recognize existing chapter members.
- We advertise our upcoming lectures.
- We promote our fall bus tour.
- We sign up new members.
- We share our flood story.
This year we had time to create a more professional booth including local rock samples. This was a good draw for the young visitors as well as the adults. We also had samples of Mount St. Helens ash from the local area and Yakima. It was a great dialog starter – Why are the two samples different? Answer – the local ash is finer and the Yakima ash is coarser because the heavier material dropped out closer to the mountain.
We also met with people who were visiting from outside the flood path or had just recently moved in from out of the area. I would ask them if they were familiar with the Missoula floods. Some knew nothing and others just a little. I would tell the story, pointing to the map showing Glacial Lake Missoula and the flood path. The one superlative I would hear over and over again was “WOW”. It reminded me of just how much of a “WOW” area we live in and how easy it is to forget that when you have lived in it all your life.
Yes we do live in a “WOW” area and the local fairs have been a great venue to get our “WOW” story out to the public.
Lloyd Stoess, President
Palouse Falls Chapter, IAFI