By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“This is good, wholesome fun,” said Sue McIntire, who volunteers as the fair's office manager.
“A lot of the kids never get to see animals up close.”
McIntire, a Port Townsend native who said she attended her first Jefferson County Fair when she was 6 months old, is the second of four generations of her family who has been involved with the fair.
Her parents were on the fair board when she was a child, and her husband, Bill McIntire, is the fair board president.
The fair at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at 4907 Landes St., Port Townsend, opens today, Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., running to 9 p.m. today and Saturday and to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets at the gate are $6 for adults, $5 for those 65 and older, $5 for those 13 to 17 and $2 for children 6 to 12. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.
Active military and their families with current identification get $1 off regular admission prices.
Season tickets — which cover three-day fair admission plus the beef barbecue — will be $15 at the gate.
The fair also offers several “family packs” that cover admissions for the weekend.
For instance, $35 covers 12 tickets, which means a family of four can attend for all three days.
Horse pulls, mud drags
Big shows are planned at the main stage both Saturday and Sunday.
State draft horse pulls will begin there at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by the kids demolition derby at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, 4x4 mud drags will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until they are done.
Bill McIntire said last year's fair attendance was down and that there was no way to tell how much the poor economy affects the attendance, but “we'll be happy with anything over 13,000.”
This year's theme is “Rock the Flock” and is intended to reflect the tie-dye days of the late 1960s and 1970s.
While a variety of music will be presented, this year's fare leans toward rock 'n' roll.
This is the second year in a row McIntire has sought local talent instead of trying to attract name-brand musicians.
Part of this has to do with the economy, but much of it is what sells in Jefferson County, good times or bad.
“If I put on a musician, I'll be lucky to draw a few hundred people in a 3,000-capacity arena,” he said.
“But with this year's horse pull [3:30 p.m. on the main stage Saturday], we'll fill the stands.”
The fair's two barbecues are among its biggest attractions.
Saturday's salmon barbecue, which will be from noon to 3 p.m., will be $10, while Sunday's beef barbecue, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be $8.
For the second year, the cost of the beef barbecue is included with the season ticket.
And one lucky family member will get a plate of barbecue.
While there are events that happen every year that people count on, fair sponsors always add some new twists and traditions.
This year, the fair will host an ongoing Rubber Duck Race taking place outside the small-animal pavilion every day from noon to 6 p.m.
Several gutters filled with water are set up in which kids place little yellow bathtub ducks, using straws to blow them to the finish line.
Prizes will be awarded for each winner, and the person with the best overall time will receive a giant stuffed bear at the fair's conclusion.
Another new tradition is the collection of oral histories by the Jefferson County Historical Society.
People can stop in and provide their recollections about any topic.
If they need a focus, the theme is how they weathered tough economic times in the past.
Bill Tennant, historical society director, said all the oral histories will be available at the research center, which is at 13692 Airport Cutoff Road on state Highway 19, for listening and study.
“Other oral histories we take are pretty formal,” Tennant said. “We call people up and make an appointment and go to their house.
“The histories we collect here are short, 10 or 15 minutes, and can be about anything.”
Fair visitors also can play the Fair Facts Game by picking up a game piece at the information booth and answering questions where the answers are scattered around the fairgrounds on different signs.
Anyone completing the game will receive a prize, and a grand prize will be awarded at the fair's end.
Each building will host a contest, such as guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar, where the closest guess without going over wins.
Attendees can also purchase a “Fun Button” bracelet for $1 and collect buttons from each department.
Other events are:
■ Ventriloquist Jerry Breeden will perform at 3 p.m. today and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday on the main stage.
■ The Greatest Kids Show on Dirt (Got Bull) takes place at 1 p.m. each day and at 5:30 p.m. today, 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the covered arena.
■ The presentation for the 4-H leader of the year takes place at 8 p.m. today in the 4-H building.
■ The Cupcake Decorating Contest takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Erickson Building.
For more information and a full schedule, visit www.jeffcofairgrounds.com.
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.