Billed as Oregon's oldest fair, the event draws thousands to McMinnville

Celebrating its 160th anniversary, the Yamhill County Fair once again united, excited and entertained thousands of people for four days at the county fairgrounds in McMinnville last week.

The event, which claims to be “Oregon’s Oldest Fair,” brought the community together in both competition and celebration, to indulge their appetites, ride the rides, see the sights and spend time with family and friends July 30 to Aug. 1.Photo Credit: SETH GORDON - Pampered pork -- Kenna Roth (center) and George Hatch (right) show their prized pigs during one of the many livestock competitions at the Yamhill County Fair last week.

That was the case for the Riddle family, which owns a five-acre farm outside of Newberg and attends the fair every year.

This year, the Riddles also came to show off Yamhill County’s finest to their Japanese exchange student Miho Satu, who is visiting the country as part of a 4-H farm immersion program.

“We have some animals, but we don’t have horses yet or pigs or sheep, so we came to check all of that out,” Jenny Riddle said. “We like to watch the rodeo and ride the rides. My favorite part is the elephant ears! A lot of times we come and watch the horse competitions. That’s been fun.”

Newberg was also well represented at the fair’s annual rodeo, as Austin and Kristin Woods both earned paydays in the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association event, which took place Thursday and Friday.

Kristin Woods placed second in barrel riding, completing the course in 17.16 seconds — just .03 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Leah Crockett — to win $832.26. Austin Woods needed 5.70 seconds to take down his bovine challenger, which was good enough for third place in the steer wrestling competition and $383.42.

Newberg also sent large 4-H and FFA contingents for the livestock competitions, which is one of the highlights of the summer for Newberg High School senior John Jensen.

On Thursday, Jensen was showing some friends the ropes of poultry showmanship July 31 with his grand champion Belgium Bearded Splash D’uccle, Charlie Chaplin.

“I love coming to the fair and telling people about my birds and actually getting to show it,” said Jensen, who was named grand champion poultry showman. “My favorite thing is to have little children hold them. I just love teaching people the knowledge I have.”

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