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MIDWAY rides are back at the county fair.

The Hood River County Fair returns to the fairgrounds in Odell July next week with its usual carnival rides, animals and exhibits — and a few new elements, too.

Fair Manager Clara Rice said a new educational stingray exhibition near the Floral Building will allow kids “to get up close and personal” with the fish, including feeding.

There will also be face painting in the park area, as well as “Twisty and Friends” on the park stage, described as “magic and balloon entertainment.”

“One of the things he does is he gets inside of a balloon — his whole body in a balloon setup,” said Rice.

Coming to the Wy’east gyms are OMSI and WAAAM with interactive displays and activities aimed at children. WAAAM will additionally have a pedal car obstacle course and glider contest, with some of the museum’s collection both inside and outside for an onsite history lesson for everyone.

The musical entertainment advertised in the fair book has changed slightly due to a hiccup: Tiranosa Del Norte, scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Griffith Stage, has been replaced by Jesus Mendoza.

Rice found out last Thursday that Tiranosa band members had not applied for visas in time to cross into the United States for the concert. “Banners were reprinted and I got all of those out to everybody right away to replace the other ones,” she said.

Following Mendoza at 9:30 p.m. will be Banda Maguay. Another change in the schedule is a Saturday Ranch Sorting event; the area clinic at 9 a.m. has been canceled.

The 1 p.m. ranch sorting competition will continue as scheduled in the Frank Herman Arena. Returning this year is the golf cart shuttle service provided by Griffith Motors and Les Schwab for those needing assistance around the grounds. The carts will be located near the main office and drivers are Hood River County Fair Board members.

The carts will take folks to the barns and then regular trips back and fourth every half hour “according to where they want to go,” said a fair board press release.

The Hood River County Fair is family-friendly, and no alcohol is allowed. No pets are allowed on the grounds except for service animals. Fair bracelets are $25 during the fair, and $20 when purchased in advanced at the fair office, Mid Valley Market, McIsaac’s, Columbia State Bank (Hood River and White Salmon), Hood River Supply (Odell and Hood River) and Juanitas (Hood River and The Dalles).

Bracelets must be purchased before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24 for the discount. Admission to the fair is free for kids under 6. Adult tickets are $10 each day ($5 for seniors on Thursday) and $5 for kids age 6-12. Fair gate admission does not include ride tickets or bracelets.

A full schedule is available at hoodriverfair.org.

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