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Siskiyou Golden Fair honors history, creator of Ol' Nugget mascot

Ol' Nugget represents the Siskiyou Golden Fair. In March, its creator - Skip Hanna - passed away, so the fair executives decided to honor him with a metal-cast version of Ol' Nugget welcoming all fair-goers. (KTVL/Mike Marut)

Yreka, Calif. - The Siskiyou Golden Fair has a lot of history as you can see from the original stagecoach from 1883 that drove from Yreka, Calif. to Klamath Falls, Ore.

That history has transformed over the years, including the Ol' Nugget mascot. Ol' Nugget has been the mascot for the fair for the past 45 years. A lot has changed since it was first drawn: just this year, the creator - Skip Hanna - passed away in March.

"This is the first time I've seen it just now, and it's phenomenal," Greg Hanna, Skip's son, said.

Greg stood and admired the metal-cast version of Ol' Nugget before the gates opened for the fair on Wednesday. Greg and his family grew up at the Siskiyou Golden Fair.

"My wife and I laugh that we kind of met as little kid, fair rats and eventually became man and wife," Greg joked.

This year, the fair's theme is Pioneer Days to Modern Ways. Even though Ol' Nugget isn't as old as pioneers, the mascot is still a big part of the Siskiyou Golden Fair's history.

"I don't know exactly what you would determine to be historical, but after 45 years, we feel like Ol' Nugget is historical," Cliff Munson, the CEO of the fair, said.

It's so historical that the original drawing is part of the Pioneer Days and Modern Ways exhibit.

"When someone passes, it's really really nice to know that there's a legacy out there, you know?" Greg reminisces. "His work, his memory, the things he's created will carry on."

With the metal mural outside the front gates of the fair, everyone will be able to know Ol' Nugget's history and to honor Skip.

Munson expects about 50,000 people to walk through the front gates this year.

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