PORT TOWNSEND — The 81st edition of the Jefferson County Fair opens today and will continue through Sunday with new attractions, plenty of animals — including snakes — and a salmon barbecue.
The county fairgrounds are at 4907 Landes St. Fair hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. with the opening of the fair at 10 a.m. featuring the national anthem.
Gate fees are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students; and $2 for children 6 to 12. Those 5 and under will be admitted free.
Highlights will include a salmon barbecue offered from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday for $10 a plate and a beef barbecue from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday for $8 a plate — both at the picnic area — as well as draft horse pulls at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and mud drags at 11 a.m. Sunday.
New this year will be a Lawnmower Derby at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Main Stage. Teams of 11 riding mowers will move a football toward the goal line.
This year has been a difficult personal one for Fair Manager Sue McIntire, who served in the past as fair treasurer.
Her husband, Bill McIntire, who served as fair president and manager, died suddenly late last year.
They were a team, jointly managing the fair and fairgrounds, and had been involved since the 1990s.
He helped construct the newest building on the property and it will be named in his honor and dedicated at 10 a.m. today with a cake and coffee celebration.
Mac’s Building will house “Reptile Isle,” a reptile exhibit all three days, with Don Riggs showing an assortment of turtles, crocodiles and snakes, some of which can be touched.
McIntire expects to host 11,000 visitors throughout the weekend.
The Unexpected Brass Band will gather at 10 a.m. Saturday and parade around the grounds, collecting onlookers along the way and encouraging them to join in.
Horse enthusiasts will find events all three days.
Music from such acts such as the Dukes of Dabob, Nashville Stars Torre Minni, Arthur Keast and April Lawson, the Storm Rider Tribute to the Doors, and Bobbie Sox and the Juke Box will compete with the sounds of farm animals and happy children.
“Every year the department of Agriculture has an ag display and this year it is Shellfish as a Crop,” McIntire said. “Taylor Shellfish will explain how their business works and the economic impact shellfish has on our community.”
Behind the scenes, the fair is run on volunteer power. Last year, 12,474 volunteer hours were spent by 337 people in various capacities.
The fair is evaluated and scored by the state Department of Agriculture Fairs Commission.
“We’re checked for cleanliness, community involvement, how we present ourselves, and if we achieve our aims and purpose,” McIntire said.
“All the information goes into a report — the numbers, the exhibitors, the gate receipts. This will tell us how much the fair will receive for reimbursements of premiums and other expenses.”
McIntire said the fair is a community event for families to find out what 4-H is all about while also enjoying several types of entertainment.
For instance, Jill Adolphsen, 12, owns a small herd of bulls and calves in Sequim. Her parents, Karalynn and Eric Adolphsen, have 80 head of beef cattle and encourage their daughter with her growing business. Jill’s mother said she is a very dedicated, enthusiastic owner who takes good care of her animals.
Adolphsen, who will enter eighth grade at the Olympic Peninsula Academy in September, is hoping to do well in the competitions this year. Last year, along with an array of colorful rosettes and ribbons, she won Master Showman honors at both the Jefferson and Clallam county fairs.
“My first year in 4-H was when I was 5 years old. I’ve grown up with the fair. I use the prize money to buy more animals and take care of them.”
Adolphsen and her beef cattle will be judged Saturday.
“Dream is my favorite show heifer,” she said. “She does everything I want her to do. She loves the attention.”
For a schedule and more information, see http://www.jeffcofairgrounds.com/
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]