Animal races, rodeo join 104th annual fair in Lynden

Becky Thompson, then 10, of Country Partners, a 4H group from Everson, checks the chickens on opening day of the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden in August 2014.
Becky Thompson, then 10, of Country Partners, a 4H group from Everson, checks the chickens on opening day of the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden in August 2014. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Curly fries. Camels. Cowboys. Carnival. Christian singer Colton Dixon.

The 104th annual Northwest Washington Fair offers six days of animal shows, 4H exhibits, commercial vendors, live music, and maybe the best news: except for a few possible showers, the weather is expected to be in the mid-70s throughout the week.

The fair runs Monday, Aug. 17, through Aug. 22 in Lynden.

Jim Baron, manager of the fair since 2003, says that like many Whatcom County residents, he has been going to the fair since he was a kid. Baron says the fair always aims to balance being a traditional, comfortable, familiar place for people to go, with making it a new, dynamic, and interesting place to be.

“We think we do a pretty good job of that by always providing plenty of opportunity to see and interact with animals, a favorite of most fairgoers, and providing some new items,” he says.

This year, he says, people will be entertained by animal races.

“Really,” he asks, “do you know who would win a race between a duck, a chicken, a goat and a pig? You might be surprised.”

Adding the Pacific Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo to the fair’s grandstand entertainment has proven to be a popular move, Baron says.

“Rodeo, of course is very traditional, celebrating the way of the cowboy as the West was settled,” he says. “And it’s something new to the fair by making it a part of our annual entertainment; part of balancing the traditional while offering something new.”

Baron says he loves working with all of the people it takes to make the fair happen.

“It is amazing the number of hours invested in every aspect, from the children grooming their rabbits and the young people teaching their pigs to behave in the show arena, to the ladies that invest so many hours in getting their quilt ready to enter into the competition,” he says.

Most people in Whatcom County has a favorite story about the fair, whether it’s the taste of a Moo-Wich, a lost child found, a coveted prize won, or the thrill of toddler’s first time on the merry-go-round.

“I love all the stories,” Baron says.

One of his favorites was about a bus drivers who, at 11 p.m. at the fair, found someone who didn’t have a ride home.

“On his own time, he and his wife drove this person 20 miles home, and that was after working a full shift at the fair,” Baron says.

As a reminder, if the thought of driving to Lynden and snagging a parking spot close to the fairgrounds makes you anxious, Whatcom Transportation Authority will provide free rides to the fair Sunday, Aug. 16, through Aug. 22.

WTA is also offering a special 10 p.m. bus departing at a stop across the street from the fairgrounds between Bank of the Pacific and Umpqua Bank. The bus will stop at the Cordata station and the downtown station in Bellingham. For details on WTA service, call 360-676-RIDE (7433) or see ridewta.com/route_26.


When: Aug. 17-22.

Where: 1775 Front St., Lynden.

Cost: Gate admission is $12 adults, $10 age 62 and older; $7 age 6-12, free for kids 5 and younger. Discounted admission tickets available before fair week at Haggen Food & Pharmacy stores, at Peoples Bank branches in Whatcom County, and at nwwafair.com.

Discounted carnival ride passes are available before fair week at Little Caesars Pizza stores in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Details: 877-699-FAIR (3247).