Linda Cline of Monroe is the 2016 Evergreen State Fair volunteer honoree.
Cline retired six years ago as postmaster of the Monroe Post Office, but she’s been volunteering at the fair (and all over Monroe) for more than 30 years.
You are a master gardener. How does that designation help your work as the superintendent of the fair’s floriculture department?
Being a master gardener has given me a broader understanding of our plant world and the relationships between plants and their environment. It was a natural for me as I loved plant ecology in college. Having more gardening information available is great to share with our fairgoers.
How have you kept the department attractive?
I have a great group of volunteers who assist me. They always have fresh ideas and I rely on my assistant, Barb Corvey, who is extremely creative in her decorating. We try to incorporate the fair’s annual theme every year. Rosie and Harvey Tatel also make quilts for my department that tie in with the theme. They are both avid dahlia gardeners.
What plants do you like to grow at home?
My great passion for gardening is really for indoor plants, such as African violets, but especially succulents. I didn’t have kids, but I have sure had a multitude of baby succulents. I used to grow a lot of dahlias and am trying to get back into that. And I never turn down the gift of a new plant.
Where else do you volunteer at the fair and in the community?
My mom says I am just a girl who can’t say no.
I volunteer at the fair in our master gardener booth, I help judge baking and agriculture and I perform with Evergreen Players, which is a group of fair lovers who get together to perform a murder mystery with proceeds benefiting our food banks. I’m on the board of the East County Senior Center and volunteer at the center’s thrift store. I am a trustee for Monroe Garden Club and vice president of Snohomish County chapter of the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees. My husband and I have done a few sea turtle rescue projects in Georgia, Mexico and Costa Rica. I love to watch birds and have been volunteer counting the Vaux swifts in Monroe. I also counted birds on Leque Island this year for state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
You also have fed the fair staff and other volunteers with Dutch oven meals, for which they make a donation to the food bank. What do you cook?
I wanted to give back to the fair for allowing us to be part of it. My husband and I like to cook in a Dutch oven, so we have cooked meatloaf and tamale pie.
What is something that’s always in your fridge?
Cheese of some kind. I have to have nachos weekly.
What’s your favorite fair treat?
I love the fresh-squeezed lemonade.
If you could dine with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
I would love to dine with Charles Darwin and discuss his discovery of what led him to the theory of evolution. I was in the Galapagos this past fall and as I looked at the organisms, I had a greater appreciation for his theory.
What is your favorite part of the Evergreen State Fair?
I love seeing what people bring to our floriculture department, especially in the artistic design category. And when a new participant — adult or child — gets that first blue ribbon, it is a great thing to see.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.