2014 county fair gets rave reviews


Attendance up; Battle of the Bands, carnival, Solstice big draws

The Powell Butte-based band SIFTED won the inaugural Battle of the Bands at the 2014 Crook County Fair this past weekend.

According to Casey Daly, fairgrounds manager, the first-time event, held on Thursday afternoon during fair week, was a “big giant hit.”

Just like the rest of the fair.

“We consider it a successful fair,” said Casey. “Starting with opening night with The Diamonds and barbeque, we had a ton of folks. The comments we got were that the fair was pretty cool.”

SIFTED’s band member, Darin Suphin, of Redmond, said that he was initially intimidated to bring his band to the fair, saying he was worried that those in attendance wouldn’t go for their heavy rock sound.

It didn’t turn out that way.

“We had a warm welcome and a good response,” he said. “It was cool to be involved with the fair and spread our wings to a different crowd.”

The band practices in a shop in Powell Butte where, according to their website, they “practice, write and record at sound levels prohibited by most neighborhoods and venues.”

Suphin was joined by bandmates Jon Soliz, of Prineville, Brock Brochler, of Powell Butte, and CJ Baxter, of Bend, to play two original songs during the competition, returning to perform for 90 minutes as the winner, later in the evening.

“I think it (the battle of the bands) was a good idea to bring a lot of people to the fair,” said Suphin. “I hadn’t been to the fair since I was a kid and this event brought a lot of different folks to the fair. Each band brought their fans and I think it helped the fair overall.”

The 2014 version of the fair also brought Solstice Brewing to the grounds and, according to Daly, the local business enjoyed good success.

“They have already agreed to come back next year,” said Daly. “That was also a very positive component of fair week and was well received.”

Solstice owner Joe Barker agreed, saying the fair was a huge success for him.

“I made a special IPA, called Fair Weather, that I took with me, along with our Raghorn Brown,” he said. “Customers would come up and ask for a beer and when I asked them what kind, they were super excited to have a choice.”

Adding that he went through more kegs of the special IPA than he expected, Barker said he was looking forward to next year.

Daly said that attendance was 25,658, up 450 visitors from last year, all attended to by 59 volunteers. The 4-H clubs also benefited from a very good livestock sale, bringing in $341,395 in income on 207 head sold.

“Typically that money covers the kid’s cost, with the balance primarily used for college funds and education,” said Daly. “This year’s sale was up $20,000 compared to last year.”

Daly also mentioned that the Friday night bull ride, carnival and all of the exhibits were well received by those in attendance.

“All in all, we got very positive responses from the community,” said Daly.