If visitors are looking for the logging show, the petting zoo or tractor pulls at the Clatsop County Fair this week, they’ll be speaking to Curtis and Florence Peugh.

The Svensen couple have been volunteering at the information booth for the past three years and enjoy meeting new people and talking with old friends while there.

With three sons who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Curtis, 74, is also involved with the local Toys For Tots program and shares information at the fair about the organization’s work in Clatsop County.

“It’s well attended, a lot of fun and a lot of good food,” he said about the Clatsop County Fair.

Curtis and Florence, 75, met in 1995 while working in Los Angeles as teachers at North Valley Occupational Center. Curtis likens the school to Tongue Point Job Corps Center in Astoria.

“We had students from all over the place that spoke every language,” he said. “Both of us really enjoyed it.”

Peugh taught computer systems at the vocational school. He served in the U.S. Air Force for nearly four years in the 1950s, working in communications and information. Peugh was stationed in France and when the base closed down he wanted to go to Japan. But uncertain about where he would end up, he decided to return to civilian life and spent his time in Southern California working with mainframe computers. It was a time when a computer could take up an entire room, he said.

Florence, with three children and Curtis with five from previous marriages, were married in 2000. Three years later, they were thinking about retiring and Florence, with family history in Knappa, brought up the region as a suitable spot. Her grandparents had homesteaded in the area after emigrating from Finland.

“I had never been up here, but it sounded all right to me,” said Curtis. They looked at a few houses and settled in Svensen, not far from the Columbia River’s reach. “I’ve enjoyed it,” Curtis said about his life on the North Coast. “There are a few things I’ve missed, but nothing of any serious value.”

Being involved with the Clatsop County Fair was different from what Curtis was used to in the past. The Los Angeles County Fair draws more than a million people each year. “It’s quite a difference from our fair here, but this is more personal.” He said he especially likes how children are able to be involved in the activities and entertainment.

“For the small area that we are, they draw some good people and some good acts,” he said about musicians coming to the fair.

While directing people to beef barbeque or to carnival rides, Curtis and Florence also mention Toys For Tots.

“We have a little literature there and try to have some flyers to just get people thinking about it,” Curtis said.

In the fall, the group collects donations of new toys to be given to families around Clatsop County. The group also is involved with the Marine Corps League’s “Welcome Home Veterans” appreciation day, Cutis said. The event was held at Lum’s Auto Center in April. “We just honor veteran. Period,” Curtis said, welcoming them back with barbeque and cake.

The group meets monthly at the Rogue Ales Public House in Astoria every first Saturday. “We have a good time,” Curtis said. “We’re always looking for new members.”

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