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Country Living Expo offers over 160 classes

Jan 1st, 2013 | Category: Features

Local instructors lead sessions; volunteer efforts large part of event planning

The annual Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool returns to Stanwood High School on Saturday, Jan. 26.The Country Living Expo has been taking place for more than 25 years, and is presented by WSU Livestock Master Foundation, WSU Extension, and the Cattlemen’s Association, and hosted by Stanwood FFA. Spinning fiber is just one of several demonstrations that will be offered throughout the day. COURTESY PHOTO

Whether you’re experienced in practical living or just starting out, seeking to learn new skills or polish them off, there’s something here for everyone. More than 160 classes are available, ranging in everything from foods and fiber to animals and horticulture to soap making and processing poultry. The classes are taught by local people who are seasoned and experienced in their skills and crafts.

According to Joan R. DeVries, the WSU Livestock Advisor Program Coordinator for the WSU Skagit County Extension, and lead organizer of the Expo, more than 45 new classes are included this year. Lefse making, fly fishing, growing hardy fuchsias, barrelyponics, hay bale gardening, Sous Vide Cooking, making a pie, Be a Curd Nerd, and A Beginners Guide to Cob Ovens are just some of them.

Admission to the full day event is $65, and includes five sessions, lunch (prime rib or vegetarian), and access to the large trade show featuring local and agricultural businesses that will be sharing information about their services and products.

The day starts at 7:30 a.m., opening with registration, trade show, and coffee and pastries. Sessions are held in blocks of 45 minutes to an hour long between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and the trade show goes all day until 5 p.m.

The event is pulled off in large part due to the number of volunteers who help organize, said DeVries, who is the only paid staffer for the event. Gerry and Stacy Labish represent the Cattlemen’s association on the committee and work to promote locally grown beef. Dave Schram has been the vendor co-coordinator for several years and works to meet the needs of vendors while helping them promote their products. Carol Schram is one of the longest serving Livestock Advisors and has been sharing livestock information with folks for over 25 years through the program. The Schrams also host the planning meetings at their home.

“We only have 10 meetings to plan this entire event, consisting of a potluck and 90-minute meeting. Period,” DeVries said. “And because we all believe so much in what we are doing each has ownership and follow through from each volunteer is amazing.”

A total of 14 volunteers contributed to the planning,  some of whom spend two hours driving just to come to a meeting, she said. “Every person on our committee is devoted to putting on an incredible day and work as a team, for the good of the order.”

According to DeVries, as of press time, the event already has 310 more people signed up than at this time last year.

For more information, or to register online, visit

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