This is the week in Washington when there is but one thing on people’s minds — the annual Washington Town & Country Fair.

Many things stop for five days. Regular routines are interrupted. It’s much like the final fling of summer for many people. To many families, it signals the end of summer vacations. Thoughts are on back-to-school needs and routines. High school football practices begin. The first games are a couple of weeks away.

It’s back to college for many students. For other young people it is getting settled in a new job. For others it is trying to get in a few vacation days before the fall routines begin.

During the Fair days, many regular activities give way to attend the Fair. Businesses report that many regular shoppers are at the Fair and not in their stores. Everybody knows that volunteers make the Fair tick. Visit the fairgrounds the week before it opens and you will see volunteers at work, doing the many tasks that are necessary to prepare for the opening. Once it opens, volunteers are all over the fairgrounds performing work that ensures a smooth operation.

To make sure the million-dollar-plus Fair operations click involves countless details, most of which are known but every now and then a new challenge pops up.

The Fair leadership over the years has been blessed with dedicated, experienced men and women who know how to handle whatever challenges come up. One of these challenges is the weather, which always presents concern. But having dealt with problems presented by the weather in the past, the leadership is prepared to react in a professional manner.

Emergencies run from the minor to the serious — which have been rare — and the Fair Board is prepared to handle almost any situation.

The first responders are ready to serve. Security is excellent. This is something that experience has taught — be prepared — although there haven’t been many incidents involving security. Most have been minor incidents. The Mercy first-aid facility treats many minor bumps and bruises.

Fairgoers often are heard to say about the crowds: Where do they all come from?

The answer is from all over the area. Many people who live elsewhere, even states away, return for the Fair. They do so because the fond memories they have are deep-seated. They return because of the good times they had at the Fair, from their younger days to adulthood.

Whether as an exhibitor or just as a regular fairgoer, lasting memories were made. That’s still happening.

One thought many of us have is about the large number of volunteers who give their talents and their time to help in this huge undertaking every year.

They are deserving of a salute!