At a time when we are continuing to reunite following an uncertain two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest events in the state arrives to help out.
The Oregon State Fair takes place Aug. 26 through Sept. 5 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. There'll be carnival fun, animals, pavilion events, plenty of vendors and concerts.
Here are some talking points among friends as you consider attending the 157th Oregon State Fair:
Hours for the Oregon State Fair are:
10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Aug. 26-27
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28-Thursday, Sept. 1
10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Sept. 2-4
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5.
What's new or not to miss?
• Each day at the Family Fun Stage includes shows by the iFlip high-flying daredevils, magician and illusionist Rafael, and the "Professor Smart Science Show" with performer Todd Victor bringing science to life with juggling, comedy, storytelling and demonstrations.
• There'll be a daredevil circus with motorcycle stunts and "death-defying" performances each day on the West Pavilion Lawn.
• After a two-year absence, free (with admission) events at the pavilion return. "We are calling it the 'Party in the Pavilion,' and for good reason," said Kim Grewe-Powell, Oregon State Fair and Expo Center CEO. There'll be a Fast Pass for guaranteed entry for $5.
Hell on Hooves Summer Showdown Final Rodeo, 7 p.m. Aug. 26-27; Rodeo Lights and Summer Nights Concerts, following the rodeo (Ned LeDoux, Aug. 26; Maddie & Tae, Aug. 27); Jaripeo Espectacular, 2 p.m. Aug. 28 (bull riding, dancing, horses); Motor Mania, 2 p.m. Sept. 3-4; VIP Small Car Demolition Derby, 2 p.m. Sept. 5.
• A big new attraction is the special parking lot for patrons, the "Party Like a Rockstar" lot.
• Food trucks made their debut at the fair in 2015, and they have returned and will be located in the "Homegrown Oregon" area in the floral gardens. There will be a bar, local artisans, food carts and music in the location.
• Exotic Fire dancers heat up the Spirit of Oregon stage each night, 9:45 p.m.
• Sundays, Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, at the Spirit of Oregon Stage will be the Dia de la Familia, with bilingual and bicultural entertainment and activities.
Tips to save $$$
"The only thing better than a day at the Oregon State Fair is scoring great deals on admission tickets, carnival rides, games and parking," said Kimberly Jacobsen, fair spokesperson.
Through Thursday, Aug. 25:
• Wilco stores offer $8 admission tickets for adults and $6 for children — and a free parking pass with any purchase at Wilco.
• Seniors 65 and older can get $1 admission tickets at www.oregonstatefair.org/tickets.
• One-day carnival ride wristbands are $45; on Aug. 26, it increases to $60.
• Discount family ticket packages are $25 (family of four) and $44.99 for an 11-day pass.
Other deals: There'll be $5 admission on opening day, Aug. 26, at the gate; BOGO (Buy One, Get One) Day is Aug. 30, buy one admission and get an equal or lesser value entry for free at the gate; on Kids Day, Sept. 1, kids 11 and under get in free; Sept. 5 is Heroes Day, in which military, first responders, teachers and their families get into the fair for free.
Admission tickets starting on Aug. 26 are $12 for adults (13-64), $10 children (6-12), $3 for seniors (65 or older) and free for kids 5 and under.
The music lineup
It's another stellar music lineup at the fair:
• Gary LeVox (Rascal Flatts lead singer), Aug. 29
• Shaggy, Aug. 30
• Bethel Music, Aug. 31
• TLC, Sept. 1
• Scotty McCreery, Sept. 2
• The Beach Boys, Sept. 3
• La Adictiva Banda San Jose De Mesillas, Sept. 4
• Nelly, Sept 5
Doors open at 6 p.m. and shows start at 7 p.m.; gates for Nelly on Sept. 5 open at 3 p.m. with the show at 5 p.m.
Concert tickets are only available at www.oregonstatefair.org or via Etix. Reserved tickets are $40 and include free fair admission. Premium tickets for VIPPlus suite seats are $100. There are limited free seats on a first-come, first-served basis.
Portland's Rainier Amusement provides the carnival rides — about 50 of them, including Freakout, Bumper Cars, Music Fest and Alibaba. There'll also be 17 Cub Country Kiddie Rides. Rides begin at 11 a.m. each day.
Other traditions: Livestock competition, including the Horse Show starting Aug. 28; Creative Living, which includes displays, exhibits, demonstrations and competitions that cover the full spectrum of life in Oregon — crafts, culinary, textiles, visual arts and STEM education.
The FairLift, giving you a bird's-eye view of the entire fair, lasts 15 minutes and costs $6 in advance, $9 when the fair begins.
For complete info: www.oregonstatefair.org.
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