Livable Community Fair celebrates five years


Danna Webster, KP News

The Livable Community Fair returns to the Key Peninsula on Saturday, May 12. It will be held at the Civic Center, where it began in 2002 as an open house for nonprofits. Bookings and applications are being processed by the new Safe Streets Community Mobilizer Mike Babauta. The fair is a joint production of Safe Streets, the Civic Center, Pierce County and other sponsors. Babauta’s job is to receive all the applications and collect the fees. He says it is helping him get acquainted.

Marty Marcus and his reptile friends are popular guests at KP events, including at the livable fair. KP News archive photo

“I was new to Safe Streets in December. With the fair, I’m immersing myself in the community — it’s rather nice,” he says.

The Livable Fair committee expects over 45 booth participants from nonprofit and civic service associations. There will be indoor and outdoor exhibits and food available from the Civic Center kitchen. Visitors will learn about the available services for Key Pen residents, enjoy a stage full of entertainment, browse a flower and garden sale, climb around on fire equipment, and be climbed on by critters in the Reptile Round-Up exhibits.

The Lakebay Fuchsia Society sponsors the outside flower and garden show and sale.

Master Gardener representatives, commercial growers and show judges will be on site to answer questions and offer advice. According to club member Sharon Miller, there are “thousands of fuchsias in the world and several hundreds of hardies thrive in the northwest.” At the sale there will be baskets, uprights, hardies and trailer fuchsias with such varieties as Orange drop, Red shadow, Crinkly bottom, Alaska, and Pink marshmallow. The sale will also offer selected annuals, some specialty annuals for baskets and cedar planter boxes. The Lakebay Fuchsia Society is the sponsor of the Civic Center’s Puget Sound compatible garden. The garden’s paths will be open, as always, for strolling.

Critters from the Reptile Round-Up were popular with kids at last year’s Livable Community Fair. Photo by Hugh McMillan

The Key Pen Historical Society will also keep the Key Pen museum open for the occasion.

The Reptile Round-Up will be familiar to many of the kids on the Key Peninsula. In fact, tens of thousands of youngsters have learned about the herpetological wonders of reptiles and amphibians from the Reptile Round-Up sponsors, Marty Marcus and Ann Waldo. Their traveling menagerie first went on the road after Marcus retired from teaching science in Los Altos, Calif. They reduced their collection of critters down to around 40 members in order to move to the Peninsula in 1983.

One star in the reptile show will be a ball python. She was hatched from an egg in the sponsors’ home. Her name is Julie. She is 19 years old and very accustomed to being handled. According to Waldo, petting Julie is “a revelation for a lot of kids and their parents.”

“Parents are more likely to be wary — more set in their ways,” she says.

Marcus and Waldo enjoy introducing people to the wonders of the reptile and amphibian worlds. The experience contributes to an appreciation for pet care needs and environmental awareness.

Along with Julie, visitors to the exhibit will meet a 26-year-old desert tortoise named Munchkin who loves to wander and explore. Tillie the Blue Tongued Skink, Tighe, Dayo, Bandera, Angel and T.W. will also be there. T.W. is an amelanistic king snake. Amelanistic gives you a clue about his color and there is a shocking mystery behind his initials.

Mark your spring time calendars. The Key Peninsula Livable Community Fair is Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Civic Center in Vaughn.

For booth applications contact Mike Banauta at Safe Streets at 884-7899. For other information contact the Civic Center at 884-3456.