Amidst the traditional fair fare — barns filled with livestock, live music, the whirring of the carnival rides and more — attendees of the 2019 Clallam County Fair may notice more than a few calls back to the past.
Event organizers are marking the fair’s 100th year with a variety of displays and honors as they prepare to welcome regulars and newcomers to “Red, White & Moo — It’s Our 100th Too!”, set for Aug. 15-18 at the fairgrounds, 1608 W. 16th St., next to William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles.
Because the popular community event has seen its share of starts and stops (see related story), it took 124 years to get to 100 official Clallam County Fairs.
One of the few remaining photos from the first fair shows a tower of canned salmon on display at the fair’s first venue, the Port Angeles Opera House, in early October 1895. Fair organizers have decided to recreate the display with a charitable twist: hundreds of cans of tuna fish will create a similar tower this year, helped fueled by a competition among Clallam County staff that has at last count reached more than 4,000 cans, fair officials said.
Fair manager Shari Ioffrida said fair-goers will also notice folks in late 1800s-era clothing in the Home Arts Building and some exhibits and items featuring exhibitors guides from long-ago fairs back as far as the 1930s.
The family with the first baby born following the fair’s start — when gates open 9 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15 — will receive free fair passes and a short (or onesie) for the following year, plus a photo package courtesy of West 101 Photography.
Also new this year is a Farm Family of the Year award, going to the Sequim-area Clark Family Farm (see box).
While there are plenty of additions to this year’s fair, Ioffrida says the things attendees have come to know and love — the hundreds of animals on display, the thrill of carnival rides, rodeo events, draft horse pulls and logging show — are all back.
For Ioffrida, now in her 14th year with the fair and 11th (officially) as its manager, it’s the music she enjoys most.
“I enjoy researching and finding bands and individuals (to bring to the fair),” she said last week.
Making a return to this year’s fair is the rock group Spike & the Impalers, set to jam on the Wilder Stage from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Other entertainment include magician Jeff Evans (3-4 p.m. and 5-6 p.m., Thursday-Saturday on the Sunny Farms Stage), Seattle-based reggae-rock-groove band Longstride (6, 8 p.m. on Thursday on the Wilder Stage), 1980s-inspired Radio 80 (noon, 6 p.m. Saturday on the Wilder Stage), youth-oriented comedy from Capitain Arrr (see below) and more.
Locals get into the act too, including popular peninsula rockers Black Diamond Junction (noon-1 p.m., 2-3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, on the Wilder Stage), country fav Buck Ellard (4-5 p.m. Friday, Wilder Stage; 7-8 p.m. Friday and noon-1 .m. Saturday, Sunny Farms Stage) and classic rockers Just In Tyme (7 p.m. Thursday, Sunny Farms Stage).
Also, check out multi-genre group Buttercup Lane (1 p.m. Friday, Sunny Farms Stage), Soundwaves Marimba Band (1 p.m. Thursday, Sunny Farms Stage), the Olympic Men’s Chorus (4 p.m. Saturday, Wilder Stage), the Olympic Peninsula Ukelele Strummers (11 a.m. Friday, Sunny Farms Stage) and much more.
The fair’s ninth-annual Variety and Talent Show features performers vying for $350 in cash prizes at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18.
See www.clallam.net/Fair/entertainmentcalendar.html for a list of entertainers, venues and start times.
The fair’s grandstand venue is home to a number of popular events.
On Thursday, check out the Draft Horse Show from 2-3 p.m., followed by The Knights of the Realm medieval warriors show set for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
On Friday, check out some top equine skills at the Western Games event from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by another round of The Knights of the Realm from 4-5 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.
On Saturday, the grandstand hosts the Logging Show from noon-2 p.m., before the rodeo kicks off at 5 p.m.
The rodeo returns for more events on Sunday, set for noon-3 p.m.
The fair’s grandstand offerings culminates with the Demolition Derby. Tickets are$15 tickets go on sale Sunday, Aug. 18, that morning outside the yellow gate starting at 9 a.m. Admission to the fair must be purchased for the event.
Ioffrida says the 2019 fair will feature a large number of animals this year, perhaps more than in years past.
That’s good news for younger fair attendees, she says. When surveys from kids packets are returned most youths note “animals and the carnival are favorites; sometimes it’s specific, such as horses or cats.”
Officials estimated in previous years the fair draws about 400 children across the county in 4H, FFA and other programs exhibiting animals, with about 1,400 people exhibiting throughout the fair— including 900 or so youths — bringing in a total of more than 6,000 exhibits.
Dozens of animal-themed contests and exhibits are scheduled this year, from dog obedience, fitting/showing, rally and agility testing to horse English and Western Dressage and reigning, fitting and showing for rabbits, poultry and small animals, sheep and goat costuming, and even a horses-and-rider watermelon-eating contests set for 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, in the horse arena.
For a list of animal shows (with locations and start times), see www.clallam.net/Fair/animalshows.html.
“My second favorite thing is watching the kids show their animals, seeing them have fun,” Ioffrida says.
The popular Junior Livestock auction is set for noon on Saturday, Aug. 27, in the sheep/swine area, where many FFA/4H children sell their animals in hopes to pay for more agricultural projects and schooling.
Kids’ Day, Kidzone
There’s plenty to do and see for the younger fair attendees, including Thursday’s Kids Day — the fair’s opening day — when children 12 and under receive free entry.
In the Kidzone, Cap’n Arr, a free pirate-themed variety show, runs Thursday-Saturday every two hours from 1-7 p.m.
Also in the Kidzone, the Port Angeles Fire Department brings their safety trailer on Thursday, and for a separate fee children can ride ponies, climb a rock wall and/or bungee jump.
In the Home Arts Buidling check out numerous displays and exhibits, including the North Olympic Peninsula Railroaders’ train display, art from the Pacific Northwest Wood Artisans group, cribbage from the Rain Shadow Peggers and Sequim Valley Peggers club members (whom you can play), a “Tiny Olympic Library” hosted by the North Olympic Library Foundation, an Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers fly tying demonstration, goat milking demonstrations and more.
In the Exposition Hall, check out a 4-H/FFA Talent Extravaganza at 6 pm. Friday, Aug. 16, while the Art Barn hosts demonstrations all day, every day during the fair.
In the Agriculture Barn, see a live bee hive and honey extractor along with daily Master Gardener and lavender demos.
For a list of demonstrations and presentations, see www.clallam.net/Fair/demonstrations.html.
Carnival wristbands remain on sale for unlimited rides (for one day) at the fair through Wednesday, Aug. 14, for $30 at multiple locations, including Dungeness Kids Co. and Kaboom Salon in Sequim; and Swain’s General Store, two Higher Grounds locations, Just Rewards Espresso, Wilder Auto Center, Strait View Credit Union, and the Clallam County Fair Office in Port Angeles.
Newcomers and favorites to the row of food vendors are those offering specialty egg rolls (with apple pie, peanut-butter-and-jelly, pizza and breakfast varieties), Indian tacos, chicken sandwiches and wraps, deep-fried (almost) everything, seafood paella, kebabs and more. And, as per tradition, scones come courtesy of Dry Creek Grange.
Fair-goers can expect plenty of company: while attendance has hovered around 28,000 (last year’s count was 28,022), Ioffrida says there may be more interest from locals wanting to take part in this milestone event.
Those wanting a keepsake of the fair’s milestone 100th event can buy a “Red, White & Moo — It’s Our 100th Too!” T-shirt, hoodie (zippered or unzippered), available for purchase at the Clallam County Fairgrounds office, or at the Parks, Fair & Facilities office in the basement of the Clallam County Courthouse (office 052).
For more information on the Clallam County Fair, visit www.clallam.net/fair and/or call 360-417-2551.
See photos from last year’s Clallam County fair at www.flickr.com/photos/119537964@N04/albums/72157697123813432.