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'Country Pride County Wide'


The 2014 Crook County Fair will launch this coming Wednesday in Prineville

Photo Credit: CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Crook County Fairgrounds Manager Casey Daly has been told to expect a significant increase in the amount of show animals at this year's fair. The fair runs Wednesday through Saturday, and entry is free. This year's fair includes a carnival.

Next week, local residents and visitors are once again invited to check out a plethora of animals, exhibits, and attractions at the Crook County Fair.

Starting this coming Wednesday evening with the annual Greg Merritt Community Scholarship Barbecue, the “Country Pride Country Wide” fair offers four days of activities and displays to keep people entertained.

“I think we are just about out of space,” said Fairgrounds Manager Casey Daly. “We are trying to enhance the fair. We are trying to give a lot more choice.”

The result, Daly said, is a lot more local vendors, and many more food providers. He also recently learned from local 4-H leader Jeremy Green that fairgoers can expect a lot more show animals than previous years.

“He was amazed at how many animals we have,” Daly remarked.

Wednesday evening will feature two presentations by the Crook County High School NJROTC, and The Diamonds, a 1950s band, will perform on the newly built fairgrounds stage.

Several local bands will grace the new stage on Thursday in a Battle of the Bands contest. Three judges will pick the winner from a group of eight local bands. Whichever group takes the prize will be the featured entertainment that evening.

“We are excited about doing that,” Daly said.

Other entertainment scheduled throughout the week includes the Dr. Solar Show, featuring a comedy and magic performances, local band Countryfied, performances by High Desert Dance Arts, and a talent showcase.

Children should have plenty of events and attractions to choose from this year, including the ever-elusive carnival. Fair coordinators were unable to land a carnival last year due to the substantial competition for the five providers in the region.

“There are about 18 other fairs going on that same week throughout the Northwest,” Daly said, noting that carnival providers tend to prefer events west of the Cascades where more people attend.

“Obviously, it makes better business sense for them,” he said.

This year, Crook County made the cut and a carnival based out of Idaho will provide rides for local fairgoers.

“It turned out pretty well for us,” Daly remarked.

The carnival joins a list of other daily attractions that include a kids safari treasure hunt in Carey Foster Hall, pony and camel rides, a petting zoo, a mechanical bull, and archery tag. Solstice Brewing Company will host a beer garden each day, with a home brew taster’s choice event planned for Saturday.

“We have been out in the community asking some of the brew clubs to see if they would like to do it,” Daly said of the event.

The animal showcase culminates Saturday with the 4-H and FFA Livestock Sale and FFA Alumni Barbecue, which features a variety of meats for people to choose from.

Daly noted that, in recent years, fair leaders have tried to grow the event and offer more selection for people who attend. He believes that the fruits of that labor have begun to emerge.

“There were a few years in the past that we didn’t have a lot of vendors,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of attractions. So, what we have tried to do is bring more local vendors, more local food providers, and more crafters.”

And while they are almost out of space, Daly and his fellow fair officials have no plans to rest on their laurels.

“There is always room to improve and there is always room to grow,” he concluded.

The Crook County Fair will be held Wednesday 5 to 10 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The event is held free of charge.