As the heat of the summer kicks in, so too does the excitement for the 154th Oregon State Fair, running August 23-September 2. Organizers invite everyone to “Find Your Fun” — an easy task thanks to new offerings and events, plus a stellar lineup at the Columbia Bank Concert Series. The Oregon State Fair's Dan Cox gives us a preview of the fun-filled event! For more information head to oregonstatefair.org.
New free-with-admission attractions for 2019
?Sea Lion Encounters. The sea lions are making their debut this year, as talented entertainers from a marine conservation outreach program. Watching the lions do handstands, ball balancing and incredible leaps, it’s inspiring when you learn they are being given a second chance at life. They’ll be performing all eleven days of the fair.
?The Wonderful World of Sawdust. Wood-carving, log-rolling, springboard chopping and axe-throwing are just of few of the competitions that honor the legacy of lumberjacks. The evening brings barbeque, Oregon craft brews, storytelling and s’mores that can be enjoyed around newly built fire pits. The action happens daily in the garden area.
?The Belt Buckle Battle. Fans will need to buckle up for the competition Aug. 24 in the Pavilion. The battle features four teams of four rodeo pros: three cowboys and one cowgirl. That means one bareback rider, one saddle bronc rider, one bull rider, and one barrel racer per team. Team colors (red, blue, yellow and green) are reflected by team fans. This event is included with Fair admission.
?Jaripeo Espectacular. This all-or-nothing, Mexican bull riding competition Sunday, August 25 is only for the brave. A typical American rodeo has bull riding that lasts just eight seconds. But at Jaripeo Espectacular, riders hang on until they are thrown or until the bull decides to take a break. This event is free with admission to the Fair.
?The 2019 Monster Truck Northwest Championship. The Oregon State Fair is hosting this one-time motorsport event in the Pavilion. Trucks slated to participate include: Bounty Hunter, Playing For Keeps, Enforcer and Scarlett Bandit. Also included in the free show in the Pavilion, an all-comers Tuff Truck competition. August 31 and September 1 at 2:00 pm. Free with admission to the fair.
?The Oregon State Fair Demolition Derby Championship. Nothing says Labor Day like a good, old-fashioned demolition derby. This one happens at 12:30 p.m. on September 2 in the Pavilion and is free with admission to the fair.
oDog Town. The highlight of the annual crowd favorite this year is the Northwest K-9 Dock Diving National Championship for Fairs. Also on hand: K9X, Xtreme Air Dogs, Best Trick, Frisbee Tricks, and K-9 Heroes (bomb-sniffing and police dog demonstrations).
oArtisans Village. This popular event is moving south of the Taphouse to a larger footprint, and will incude artisanal food carts.
oAll-Alaskan Pig Racing. If there’s one thing pigs are known for, it’s their food motivation. This popular event has these pink piglets competing for first place at the feed trough and they mean business.
oST[+r]EAM Competition. Located outdoors with a larger footprint than ever, this is a celebration of science, technology, math, art and reading. Think ORTOP robotics, a short film competition, remote-controlled cars, and 3D printed robots. Immediately adjacent is the Mindworks Toddler Zone, featuring a spectrum of engaging games and activities for little ones.
oThe 60th Anniversary Edition of the Gerry Frank Chocolate Layer Cake Contest. Columbia Hall’s Explore Oregon Stage is the setting for this milestone cake baking competition starring the estimable Gerry Frank as the solo judge. It happens at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 1. The Fair is calling all past winners to defend their titles in a special competition after the main event.
oAnimals Large and Small. Fair-goers can get up close and personal with smaller animals in the Historic Poultry Building. Visitors will find poultry, pigeons, doves, and rabbits among others. Across the way, the Historic Horse Stadium, celebrating the century mark this year, holds the best-of-the-best in equine competition.
oHeroes Day. The Oregon State Fair honors all military veterans, active duty military, first responders and their immediate families with free admission, Labor Day, September 2. Other discounted days can be found on the Oregon State Fair website.
About the Oregon State Fair
The Oregon State Fair, began in 1861 in Oregon City during the Civil War. Since 1862, the Fair has called the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem home, hosting thousands of visitors from near and far with premier concerts, art, culture, rides, agricultural exhibits and livestock. In 2019, the Oregon State Fair will celebrate the century mark of the Historic Horse Stadium. For more information, visit oregonstatefair.org.