Petting zoos, blue ribbon pies, high-flying thrill rides and deep-fried everything. Oh yeah, fair season is upon us. Near Portland, we have a few county and state fairs that show off the bounty of Willamette Valley and beyond. Read on to discover the ones your little summertime sweeties will go gaga over.
photo: Mack Male via flickr
Washington County Fair
When you think about fair food, it’s not not always something you’re hoping your kids will (literally) take to heart. To be sure, you can get plenty of artery-clogging deep-fried desserts and other sugary treats here, but you can also take a turn through “The Growing Grove,” a feature that highlights healthy food and how it grows. Kids will finally have fun with their chores when they try stacking hay. For parents, there’s a wine and a beer pavilion. Done picking apples in the grove? Check out the canine stars, motorcycle show, fishing, juggling, comedy. There’s enough to do and see to spend the whole day. Admission is free, but parking is $7. Try taking the free shuttle from the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport station on the MAX Blue Line.
July 30-Aug. 2
10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Washington County Fairgrounds
873 NE 34th Ave.
photo: Clark County Fair by John E. via Yelp
Clark County Fair
Wild about animals? Head to the Clark County Fair in Ridgefield, Wa, to see what there is to see at the fair. Naturally, you have your usual farm animals in the barn, but here you’ll also find a sea lion show, a trained monkey show, parrots, and a visit from the animals from A Walk on the Wild Side. Admission is $8-11, and kids 6 & under are free. Parking will run you $6 per vehicle. Check the website for deals, like Kid Day on Thurs. Aug. 13.
Fri. 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-10 p.m, Fri. & Sat 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Clark County Fairgrounds
17402 NE Delfel Rd.
photo: Oregon State Fair by eyeliam via flickr
Oregon State Fair
Dog lovers will delight in the Dog Town, including the “X-Treme Air Dogs Dock Diving World Championships.” If you’re a family of daredevils and carnival ride lovers, the $50 unlimited ride wristband will keep you going all day long, and it includes a snack and three free carnival games to boot. Admission is a reason table $6-8 for each person, and kids 5 & under are free. Once you’re in, admission to concerts is included on a first-come, first-served basis. Music lovers can grab a VIP ticket, which guarantees seating to the show that day (Everclear, Vince Gill, and Becky G will all make appearances), and includes Fair admission.
Aug. 28-Sept. 7
10 a.m.-10 p.m. or later
Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center
2330 17th St. NE
Washington State Fair: photo by Lauren Michell Rabaino via flickr
Washington State Fair
There’s plenty of entertainment at all of the fairs, but the Washington State Fair brings out the star power with Iggy Azalea, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Keith Urban, Heart, Pitbull, and Patti LaBelle all taking part in the festivities. Get a sitter, or bring the older kids along with you. Not much of one for concerts? There’s still plenty to do if you make the trip up to Puyallup, about a 2.5 hour drive from the Rose City. Rides, rodeo, fireworks, farm animals, fine arts, shopping, face painting, daily parades are all part of the fun. Churn butter and play with piglets. Spend the afternoon in Sillyville, with the kid-sized rides, food with kid-sized prices of $2.50 or less, and the “ C.P. Huntington Train” traveling through a “mineshaft” tunnel. Admission is $8-12.50, with kids 5 & under free. You’ll pay $10-15 for parking, depending on the day.
Washington State Fair Events Center
110 9th Ave. SW
What’s your family fair tradition? Let us know in the comments!