WATERVILLE — The North Central Washington District Fair started its four-day run today at the Waterville fairgrounds with lots of baaaing sheep, mooing cows, snorting pigs and crowing roosters.
Fair directors take pride in presenting a portrait of country life the way its been on the Waterville Plateau’s wheat country for generations. Quilts, flowers, canned goods, pies, garden trophies, lots of animals and lots of kids are still the all important mainstays of rural life. Long lines of livestock trailers and pickup trucks hauling horses, cattle, pigs and poultry waited at the fair gates Wednesday to vye for ribbons and livestock auction sales. Exhibitors brought their heirloom tomatoes, giant squash, prize dahlias and homemade cookies.
There’s always plenty to see, lots to learn and scores of animals to pet:
The Fur and Feather and Livestock Auction, starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, is the focal point for local kids who raise animals and local family and business support of animal husbandary traditions.
Love and Theft are the Friday night concert headliners this year. The country duo of Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson recently released their second studio album on RCA Records in Nashville. They were nominated for an Academy of Country Music Best Duo of the year in 2012. Concert tickets range from $25 to $40 and include fair admission. Tickets are available at the gate, by calling the fair office at 745-8480 and at several local farm supply stores. The concert begins with opening act Joel Brantley at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the rodeo grandstand. Love and Theft take the stage a 8 p.m.
Brantley will also sing his country, rock and kid-friendly tunes at noon and 4 p.m Friday and Sunday and 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday in the fairground’s community hall.
Other entertainers include cloggers and dancers, a hypnotist, Christian singers and a country-rock dance band Friday and Saturday nights. There’s a $6 charge for the dances. Phillip LaRue, a popular Christian singer from Nashville, offers a free Christian concert tonight in the communty hall.
The district fair is known for its Quarterhorse and Thoroughbred horse races and PWRA-NRA Big Bend Rodeo and this year will be an exceptionally wild one, Fair Manager Bob Brown predicts. Horse racing and rodeo action starts at 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to the races and regular rodeo events Saturday and Sunday, there’s the Native American Relay — a pony express type of relay race — a Wild Cow Milking event — crazy fun — and, new this year, a Wild Horse Race.
Admission to all rodeo events is free with admission, but programs and reserved grandstand seating will cost a few extra dollars.
Also new this year, said Brown, is the Cascade Carnival Amusements. Lots of rides for a set price of $20 a day. The carnival is open from 2 p.m. until closing today and Friday and from noon until closing Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s a little cheaper, so you can ride longer and have more fun,” Brown said.
The fair opens at 8 a.m. each day. Fair admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Seniors are admitted free today.