“It’s fair time!”
The Hood River County Fair, presented by Griffith Motors, returns Wednesday through Saturday, July 27-30. It’s a fun and traditional family-oriented county fair, that’s been named the “best in the state.” The fair is known for outstanding entertainment, fun activities for kids and adults, displays and exhibits, and food to please every taste. The scenic fairgrounds are at 3020 Wy’east Road, south of Hood River, near the community of Odell.
Enjoy open class, 4-H, FFA, and commercial exhibits of all kinds, along with carnival rides and midway fun, exotic animals, fun daily acts, special entertainment every evening — including country music’s award-winning legend Tracy Lawrence — great activities, and all kinds of food. There are golf cart shuttles provided by Griffith Motors and Les Schwab to take folks needing assistance around on the grounds.
Regular general admission prices to the fair are $8 per adult Wednesday and Thursday, and $10 on Friday and Saturday. Admission for children aged 6-12 (inclusive) is $3. Children under 6 are admitted free. Season tickets are available for $30 adults and $10 ages 6-12 inclusive. The fair gates are open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Most exhibits open, and many activities begin at noon, with carnival rides beginning at 1 p.m.
Check the schedule, though, as many FFA and 4-H events begin earlier.
Musical entertainment begins Wednesday evening on the park stage at 7:30 p.m., with a tribute to George Strait featuring Bill White. On the same stage, Thursday, at 7:30 p.m., Kimberly Hall puts on a fine tribute to Reba McIntire. Friday evening, it’s a full evening of Hispanic music on the main stage, with Antifaz playing at 7:30 p.m., and Las Cararious beginning at 9:30 p.m. Sponsors of Friday evening’s entertainment are Hood River Supply, Juanita’s Fine Foods, and Hood River Taqueria.
Popular Brewer’s Grade opens Saturday evening’s entertainment on the main stage at 7 p.m., before fair headliner Tracy Lawrence takes to the main stage at 8:15 p.m. One of the most recognizeable voices in country music, Lawrence has had 18 number one singles, and 22 songs on the Billboard Top Ten charts. He’s sold over 13 million albums, and is a multi-platinum CMA and ACM award winning artist, who continues to inspire and influence other country artists, and the sound of the genre.
All musical performances are free with paid admission to the fair. Also free with fair admission are many other great attractions — many found in the park area, or around the fairgrounds. A Kidz Dental Zone is sponsoring park activities.
An Exotic Animal Show will display a wide range of exotic animals and reptiles in a jungle atmosphere every day in the park area.
Tuxedo Willie will entertain kids of all ages with his talents as a balloon artist, and Amazing Elaine will make kids even more special with her face painting skills. Little buckeroos can enjoy pony rides every day in the park.
Godfrey the Magician brings award-winning comedy and levitation tricks to the park and around the fairgrounds each day.
“Wool Busting!” is back. Kids up to 55 pounds and younger than 12 can try their hand at riding sheep. It’s a start for the next generation of rodeo stars. Shows daily. The championship ride is Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
There’s fun for bigger kids, too, including the Buck-A-Ewe mechanical sheep. It’s exciting rodeo action for kids over 55 pounds, and younger than age 12. There are also “Just for Fun” roping clinics for kids of all ages. It’s all sponsored by Hood River Supply and Columbia State Bank.
The Frank Herman Arena will be a busy place during the fair. Wednesday at 7 p.m. is the Hispanic Dancing Horses Show. Banda Diamindo will also perform.
Thursday through Saturday will be Team Penning and Ranch Sorting practices and competition, Youth Gaming Events, and more. Check the schedule for all arena activities.
Every day is “Bracelet Day” on Cascade Amusements carnival rides. Save money on rides by purchasing a $22 ride bracelet ticket, or pay $17 in advance of the fair’s opening. They’re available in Odell at the fair office, Mid Valley Market, and Hood River Supply; at McIsaac’s Store and Jim’s Market in Parkdale/Dee; at Juanita’s Market in The Dalles; at Pine Grove Grocery in Pine Grove, and at Juanita’s Market, Hood River Supply, and Columbia State Bank in Hood River, and must be purchased by 5 p.m., Wednesday, July 27. Each bracelet ticket purchased may be used on any one day of the fair, and is good for rides all day long. Carnival rides begin at 1 p.m. each day, and continue until closing. The fair gates open at noon each day.
Friday evening, beginning at 4:30 p.m., is the 4-H/FFA Livestock Auction in the Kirby Ring. It’s the all-important culmination of a year’s work for the 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors. Check the schedule for all the 4-H and FFA competitions and activities.
To reach the 2016 Hood River County Fair, travel I-84 to Hood River exit 64, then south on State Highway 35 to the Odell junction.
Follow the signs to the fairgrounds at 3020 Wy’east Road, at the corner of Wy’east and Summit roads. Or drive Highway 26 to its intersection with Highway 35, then north on Highway 35 to the Odell junction.
For additional information about the Hood River County Fair, call the fair office at 541-354-2865, or check the website at hoodriverfair.org.