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SOAP LAKE — Soap Lake’s Suds ‘N Sun festival began at 9 a.m. Saturday and it was already about 80 degrees. But that didn’t stop locals from finding shady spots to sit, talk and enjoy the action downtown. Main Avenue East was closed off at the freeway for the Soap Box Derby and a car show, where about 15 vehicles with their hoods down gleamed in the morning sun.

The festival was an all-day affair, with a car show and 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the morning. The Seattle Cossacks motorcycle drill team was scheduled to perform in the afternoon, followed by a large parade and, of course, fireworks.

East Beach Park featured booths selling all kinds of food and crafts. There was also a petting zoo where little ones could meet goats, pigs, sheep, rabbits and more. The traveling menagerie doesn’t have an official name yet, but it’s currently called the Brought to You Petting Zoo, said owner Jenny Coppenbarger.

“The petting zoo is actually part of a farm animal rescue run by Coppenbarger,” she said as she walked through the park with a one-year-old bull named Chicken.

“His mom left him in the field,” Coppenbarger said. “The farmer called me and said, ‘You can have him, (but) don’t expect him to live.’ I spent a week in my laundry room with him trying to get him back to health. He’s still pretty small for a year, but he’s not going to get much bigger because he only has a partial stomach.”

All of the animals Coppenbarger takes to fairs and festivals are rescues, she said. When children have friendly contact with animals, they gain a different perspective.

“We want to make sure people are aware of the situation by teaching them compassion and how to properly interact with animals without being afraid of them,” she said.

Joel Martin can be reached via email at [email protected].

A line of classic vehicles lines Main Avenue East in Soap Lake for the annual Suds ‘N Sun celebration.
This 1967 El Camino was one of the classic vehicles on display at Suds ‘N Sun in Soap Lake on Saturday.
A young racer prepares to cross the finish line at the Soap Lake Suds ‘N Sun Soap Box Derby. Coverage of the derby appeared in Monday’s paper and can be found online at https://bit.ly/SNSDERBY24.