The Northwest Washington Fair offers six days of fun for people of all ages, especially children. Here are five attractions at the fair certain to please the young fairgoers in your family:
Carnival: Two changes are coming to the carnival this year. The Kids’ Carnival – with small-scale rides for the wee set – is moving to the big-time carnival at the east end of the fairgrounds. Bigger news – a new carnival company is coming to the fair.
“There’s going to be more and bigger rides,” said Jim Baron, fair manager. “The carnival that we’re going with is fantastic.”
Actually, it’s “Funtastic.” That’s the name of the Portland, Ore., carnival company coming to Lynden. The company already runs the carnivals at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup and at fairs in Marysville, Port Townsend and Thurston and Pierce counties, among other places.
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Entertainment: The fair’s ticketed grandstand shows attract big-name acts and fun events, including a demolition derby that kids love. There’s also plenty of free entertainment in smaller settings, where parents and kids can watch-and-go as they please.
Among the free options, the Wenatchee Youth Circus will perform trapeze, tightwire and other circus stunts three times a day by the water tower, near the west end of the fairgrounds.
“Kids love to watch other kids doing those events,” Baron said.
Many other acts can be enjoyed as they walk the fairgrounds or appear outdoors at the Banner Bank Festival Stage, on the north side of the fairgrounds. Acts this year include Karen Quest, known for her “improvisational kooky cowgirl shenanigans,” and Louie Foxx, whose tricks include making his head shrink and balancing a full glass of water upside down.
Farm scene: Kids can enjoy a taste of farm life up-close while at the fair. At the Small Animal Experience, in the Henry Jansen Barn on the west side of the fairgrounds, kids can see newborn and small animals in the flesh and watch baby animals be bottle-feed.
Inside a large tent nearby, the Agriculture Adventure Center showcases large tractors and farm equipment, a hay maze for kids, vegetable and fruit gardens and a chance to milk a simulated cow.
Rodeo: Lynden PRCA Rodeo will bring bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and other rodeo events to the grandstand at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14-15. Kids 10 and younger can see the rodeo for free, with a youth rodeo ticket from the fair office or the grandstand ticket booth.
At 2 p.m. Aug. 15, kids and adults with special needs can participate in the free Rascal Rodeo at the grandstand. No horse or rodeo experience is needed. It’s free for spectators, too.
Food: For many people, food is an essential and fun part of the fair. Standard fare includes kettle corn, roasted corn on the cob, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecue beef, curly fries and corndogs.
For thirsty folks, there’s lemonade, Italian sodas, milkshakes and other quenchers. For people with a sweet tooth, cotton candy, ice cream, funnel cakes and strawberry shortcake are some of the favorites.
Also popular: the Moo-wich, a dollop of ice cream sandwiched between two massive chocolate-chip cookies; and poffertjes, a Dutch treat that resembles fluffy pancakes with sweet toppings.
Advice for parents
Lost or hurt? Peoples Place, near the clock tower in the center of the fairgrounds, is the go-to place for first aid, lost people and lost-and-found items. Have a group photo with you, in case a member of your party becomes lost.
Need a break? The Sensory Space at Peoples Place offers a relaxing setting for kids with special needs and their families.
Have a baby? PeaceHealth sponsors a mothers’ room and a family changing station at Peoples Place.
Carnival rules: Some rides have height requirements. Check ahead so you don’t wait in line in vain. Also, carnival rides can prohibit sandals.
Pace yourself: Stop often for cool drinks, shade and bathroom breaks. Remember to wash your hands after using the restroom, before you eat and after you touch animals.
Northwest Washington Fair
When: Monday, Aug. 13, through Saturday, Aug. 18
Where: 1775 Front St., Lynden
Hours: Fair open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; carnival open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Gate admission: Adults (13-61) $13; seniors (62 and older) $11; youths (6-12) $8; children (5 and younger) free. Pre-fair discount tickets of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and $7 for youths, available July 25-Aug. 12 at Peoples Bank and Haggen Food & Pharmacy outlets in Whatcom County.
Carnival tickets: $33 online or at the fair office in advance; $27 during four-hour, one-day promotion at Woods Coffee outlets in Whatcom and Skagit counties; $29 pre-fair at Little Caesars from July 17-Aug. 12; $38 during fair at carnival ticket booth; $27 group rate.
Rodeo tickets: $15 at fair office and Bank of the Pacific grandstand ticket booth and online at nwwafair.com. Kids 10 and younger get into rodeo with free youth rodeo ticket available at fair office and grandstand ticket booth, but gate admission still required.
Parking: Paid parking available near the fair. Free street parking in downtown Lynden, with free shuttle to and from downtown.
Bus service: Whatcom Transportation Authority offers free rides throughout Whatcom County during fair week and a special 10 p.m. return trip from fairgrounds to downtown Bellingham. Details: ridewta.com.
Fair information: 360-354-4111, nwwafair.com