The 148th Clark County Fair kicked off with strong attendance, smiles and near perfect weather.
By 11 a.m., crowds had packed the parking lots surrounding the fairgrounds. However, most seemed to be in good spirits as they visited a plethora of exhibits, vendors, animals, product demonstrations, entertainment and rides.
Carnival workers called out to those walking through the midway, seeing who would step up to try and win a stuffed animal or other trinket at the various games. Mouth-watering aromas wafted through the air, and fairgoers could be seen enjoying corn dogs, corn on the cob, teriyaki chicken, elephant ears, curly fries and other tempting fried foods.
Aimee Hoover of La Center came to the fair with her 12-year-old daughter, Ciara.
“We try to make it for the free pancakes every year,” she said.
As per tradition, a free Fred Meyer pancake breakfast was served until 11 a.m., with free entry until noon. Approximately 3,000 people were served.
“The pancakes went really fast,” Hoover said.
She and Ciara also enjoyed visiting the vendors in the convention center area, and sampling products.
“I like everything about the fair,” Ciara said. “Especially the rides and getting coffee.”
Several youngsters from Camp Gan Israel attended the fair together for the first time.
The campers ranged in age from 5 to 12 years old, and wore brightly colored, tie-dye shirts so that the adults could easily keep track of where they were.
“So far, we’ve been to a ventriloquist show, and they really enjoyed it,” said Director Heather Graven.
Isaac Segal and Levi Greenberg were eager to test out the rides.
“I want to go on all of them,” Greenberg said.
“The rides will be fun, and the food,” added Segal.
In the goat barn, Taylor Harpe, 15, answered questions about his animals for curious fairgoers. It is his fifth year showing French Alpine and pigmy goats.
“It’s a lot of work but you get a lot out of it,” he said. “We try to show our goats to the best of our abilities.” Faith Wesley, 11, has been coming to the fair since she was a baby. This year, she was there with her jersey cow, Woo.
“My favorite part of the fair is definitely showing her, although she is bossy,” Wesley said. “I really enjoy spending the time with my animal and showing others what we can do.”
In addition to all of the usual favorites, “Summer’s Best Party,” included all-new, interactive displays in the Fun Science Experience.
Jason Greeley-Roberts, the builder of the displays, grew up at OMSI, where his father built museum displays and his mother taught classes.
“All the grand experiments I grew up with will now be available once again for people to enjoy,” he said.
Two of the returning favorites included Dock Dogs and the Racing Pigs.
By noon, the grassy area near where the dock dogs jumped was filled with families waiting to cheer on their favorite pooch.
Brent Aguirre served samples of Tropical Wine Mix, a business out of Venice, Florida, which is used to make smoothies.
“My favorite part of this is getting to meet new people and how surprised they are by the product,” he said. “I’m a people person, so it’s fun.”
Musical acts this year featured groups ranging from Queensryche to Trace Adkins.
Motorsports at the Excavator Rental Services Free Grandstand and the Comcast Kids Park round out the action with activities and contests, plus The Columbian Community Stage features free, round-the-clock entertainment.
Some of the grandstand entertainment includes Mutton Bustin’, bull riding, Moto X Thrills, the demolition derby, Tuff Trucks and Monster Trucks.
The fair will remain open through Sunday. Those who want to save money on parking and avoid traffic, can take C-Tran from several access points in Clark County. Package holding services, courtesy of People’s Community Credit Union, are in the front of the main exhibition hall.