Harvesters on display from the McGee family as they walk out of the Walla Walla Fairgrounds the day before the opening of this years fair. Sharon McGee (left) and her daughter Miranda McGee (center) dropped off flowers for the competition and Miranda's children (from left to right), Kadin, 10, Chance, 2, and Rylie, 5, all dropped off "feature creatures," animals made out of vegetables.
Photo by Matthew Zimmerman Banderas.
Time to saddle up for some “Farm Fresh ~ Family Fun.”
That’s the theme this year of the 146th Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days, the oldest fair in the state of Washington.
Gates officially opened at 11 a.m. today, ushering in the five-day event that’s rooted in local history, tradition and community spirit.
Exhibits are on display and spectators are gawking at farm animals while biting into burgers and pigging out on corn dogs.
In addition, carnival rides are spinning and a bushel of entertainment awaits on the Pepsi Stage and in the Pavilion at no extra charge.
Gate passes and tickets for other events are now available for purchase at www.wallawallafairgrounds.com.
And soon patrons will be lining up for tonight’s concert featuring Rodney Atkins and Casey James. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Thursday’s featured event is the Demolition Derby — dubbed a “smash hit” — which promises 200 entries on a crash course beginning at 6 p.m. Spectators will be treated to about 25 “heat races” ending with the finale involving about 20 cars.
Friday is Kids Day when ages 6-13 are admitted for $2. (Children 5 and under always get into the fair free.)
In addition, special events for youngsters are scheduled every day.
The Kids Farm Center for hands-on learning about the farming and ranching world is between barns two and three.
Children 4-12 can compete at various times in the Kids Pedal Tractor Pull on the Midway Lawn.
And new this year is an expanded Wool Busters — on the lawn at 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. each day — at which young people will try their skills at riding a sheep for eight seconds.
Older cowboys and cowgirls will buck for shares of $50,000 added purse money at the Frontier Days Rodeo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. Events include bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding, as well as tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing. A big-screen scoreboard with video capabilities and instant replays will again be a special attraction.
Friday, it’s “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night at the rodeo to show support for cancer victims and survivors. Frontier Days cowboy legends will be honored Saturday and the event will “Salute our Troops” on Sunday.
The fair parade with about 125 entries will march downtown Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Led by parade marshals Leland and Carolyn Hellberg, the event will spotlight the fair royalty — Joycelin Munden and Taylor Skramstad — and include the usual array of floats, mounted groups, wagons, clowns and cars.
Livestock projects will be exhibited in the barn areas at the fairgrounds each day.
All-day public parking is available for $5 across Orchard Street in the Garrison Middle School parking lot, the Chase Avenue lot and in the lot across from Tietan Street. Or you can catch a ride on a Valley Transit shuttle between the transfer center and the fairgrounds Wednesday through Saturday for a 75-cent cash fare or a valid September pass.
No state-licensed pari-mutuel horse races will take place this year.
But television host and author Cee Dub will conduct dutch oven cooking demonstrations, mounted shooting will take place at high noon in the rodeo arena Friday through Sunday, and adults can dance to music by “The FrogHollow Band” immediately after arena events starting Thursday night.
Mostly “fair” weather is predicted this week, with highs in the low to mid-80s.