Keeping county fairs viable these days isn’t easy to do. All counties seem to be faced with challenges in keeping their county fairs alive. Throw in the recession and they’ve got an added challenge on their hands.
But in Union County, fair directors have been fine-tuning and looking for new ways to attract fairgoers. Last year the fair added free admission, partly offset by paid parking. But still a good bargain for anyone looking for inexpensive entertainment.
The free admission is back this year, but so are some other new twists on the old county fair.
Perhaps the biggest change this year is a Friday night beer garden at the Mavericks Arena, featuring music by Blue Tattoo and the Way Cool Band. Although there is a $5 cover charge, the Friday night offering should provide a much-needed lift for Friday attendance at the fair.
The Way Cool Band itself should be a draw. The band is the rock ‘n’ roll version of Tiller’s Folly, which includes the string wizardry of La Grande’s own Nolan Murray. These boys can play, whether performing their own brand of Celtic rock or doing old rock ‘n’ roll covers, which they’ll offer up Friday night.
Be sure to check it out.
The fair kicks off Wednesday with the wide assortment of 4-H, FFA and open class exhibits and competitions. The annual talent show is set for 5 p.m. At 8 p.m., Marty Davis and Red, and Wallowa County’s own Brady Goss will perform.
An all-day fiddle contest takes place Thursday, with prelims at 10 a.m. and the finals at 7 p.m.
Friday, of course, is the beer garden and music at Mavericks, but preceding that is the annual parade down Adams Avenue in La Grande. Remember to bring food donations to help restock local food banks.
Saturday will feature Earl Ware on the main stage at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Also on Saturday, of course, is the important Junior Market Auction that will offer the livestock raised by 4-H and FFA members. These kids need the community’s support to buy the animals and help reimburse some of what they spent on their projects. Try to attend, but if you can’t, call John Leithner at 786-1750 or Tim DelCurto at 910-8970 and they will arrange to have someone do the buying for you and you’ll be billed for the purchase/donation. Organizers are happy to accommodate prospective buyers.
Let’s all get out and support the fair. You’re going to have some fun in the process.