Aaron Romer, left, and Ashelee Cochran of All Phase Electric in La Grande work to install a new electric box and pole at the Union County Fairgrounds on Saturday. The new source of power will provide the RV/trailer parking area on the north side of the fairgrounds a convenient electric hookup for attendees of the fair and year round. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
Cooler weather could help Union County Fair attendance
The minor heat wave La Grande experienced last week is subsiding, but activity is about to sizzle at the Union County Fairgrounds.
The Union County Fair opens Wednesday and runs through Saturday. The fair is expected to draw at least 15,000 people, Attendance will be aided by cooler weather. The projected highs will range from 79 on Thursday to 84 on Saturday.
“That is perfect,” said Nan Bigej, manager of the Union County Fair. “We have found that when it is chilly, people will come but when it is super hot, the crowds diminish.”
Fair attendance was 15,846 in 2012, and Bigej believes the mark can be topped this year with the help of cooler weather.
“Our goal is to try to get everybody in the county to come to the fair at least one day,” Bigej said.
The fair’s entertainment lineup will again feature singer Nicole Lewis of Spokane and her band. Lewis, a 2004 La Grande High School graduate and a 2008 Gonzaga University graduate, will perform at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday. Lewis’ band plays a blend of country and rock.
“She drew a huge crowd last year. We are excited to have her back. We call her the pride of Union County,” Bigej said.
Musical entertainment at the fair kicks off Wednesday with a performance by Cale Moon, a 19-year-old award-winning country singer from Washington. Moon will perform at 8:30 p.m. His performance at the Union County Fair is one of eight he will be giving between now and Sept. 14. His schedule includes five performances at the Pendleton Round-Up in September.
Moon will be followed by Brewer’s Grade on Thursday. Brewer’s Grade, a five-man country band from The Dalles area, will play at 7 p.m. The group will play after a performance by Beckie’s Studio of Dance at 6:30 p.m.
Topping off the entertainment lineup is Mark Stratton Lost Creek Road, a La Grande band which plays country, rock and blues. The band will perform at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Throughout the fair’s four-day run gates will open at 8 a.m. each morning for exhibits, booths will open at 10 a.m. and its carnival will begin operating at 2 p.m.
Exhibits at the fair will include one featuring photographs by the late Littia Schwarz. The Union County youth, who died in 2012 at age 16, was a volunteer for years and took numerous photos of the fair. The Schwarz photo exhibit will be in the main fair building next to the west entrance.
Opening day highlights will include the Union County Fair Parade. It begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday outside Globe Furniture on the 1500 block of Adams Avenue. People entered can begin lining up for the parade at 5:30 p.m. at Hemlock Street and Washington Avenue.
The second day of the fair, Thursday, will be senior day. All seniors age 60 and older will be admitted for no charge. A free breakfast for seniors will be served from 8 a.m. to
About 70 booths and stations will be open throughout the fair, ones which will offer something for everyone. About 40 booths and stations will be indoors, and 15 to 20 will be outside.
Children and adults who are young at heart will be drawn to the Bubble Fun station. People at the station will get into a clear ball-type apparatus and then roll in it in a pool of soap bubbles.
Many people visiting the fair will likely be impressed with many improvements at the fairgrounds. They include new horse stalls, sheet rock work on the ceiling of the 4-H building and additional electrical hookups at recreational vehicle parking sites. Electrical hookups were added to 14 RV parking sites with the help of service donated by All Phase Electric, Bigej said.
The fairgrounds now have 24 RV parking sites with electrical and water hookups. This week they will be used by fair participants. The RV hookup spots will be available to the general public after the fair.