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The Crook County Fair returns to Prineville next week Aug. 9-12 and will feature a variety of attractions

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - The Crook County Fair will once again feature a variety of livestock exhibits as well as some entertaining activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Gather your entries and get ready for "A Touch of Country" when the Crook County Fair opens next week.

"I would encourage everybody to come to the Crook County Fair," says Fairgrounds Manager Casey Daly. "It's free admission, free parking. It's old-fashioned fun, is kind of how we bill it."

The annual event kicks off at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9 with the Greg Merritt Scholarship Barbecue and continues Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 10-12 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Although the preregistration deadline for entering livestock in the fair has already passed, they are still accepting open class entries for statics — which include land products, floral, food, beer and wine, baked goods, needlework, art, and hobbies and crafts.

"It's just a really fun way of showing the community your talent and showcasing what you've made or grown," said fairgrounds office assistant Micaela Halvorson.

Friday, Aug. 4 is the early registration deadline. Preregistration is not required, but it is preferred, Halvorson said.

Forms are available in the premium book, which are at the fairgrounds and a few places around town. The entry forms can also be printed from the fairgrounds website and mailed, dropped off or emailed to the fair office.

Static exhibits earn the same premiums — $3 for first place, $2 for second place, and $1 for a third-placed ribbon. The livestock premiums range from $50 for a first-place beef to $3 for a third-place rabbit or poultry entry.

Last year, the fair had a little more than 2,000 entries, and Halvorson said she hopes for that many or more this year.

"The more the merrier," she laughed.

The fair planning committee came up with this year's theme, "A Touch of Country," and Daly said this year's fair won't disappoint.

"Wednesday night, we have The Diamonds that are performing on the main stage," he said. "The Merritt Community Scholarship Barbecue kicks off the fair."

Cost for the dinner is $12 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and includes tri-tip beef, cheesy potatoes, salad, rolls, drinks and dessert. All proceeds support scholarships for graduating CCHS seniors.

The 2017 county fair will include open class, 4-H and FFA exhibits and livestock, an assortment of vendors, as well a variety of entertainers, such as Brad's World Reptiles, Super Science Company Puzzlemania, Western Express Railroad, and JJ Entertainers, who will do face painting and balloon twisting.

Vikki Gasko Green, a ventriloquist and comedian, will perform daily.

"She's brand new to us," Daly said. "We saw her at Oregon Fairs Association Convention last year, and we were pretty impressed, so we asked her to come, and so she's agreed. That's going to be a good thing."

Thursday opens with the Veteran's Breakfast. That night, the bluegrass band Hutch and Gentry will play on the main stage.

A variety of entertainment will take to the stage, including local dance troupes, baton twirlers, and the Soroptimist line dancers.

"Friday night, 4-H is going to do a fashion show, which is new this year to us, so we're looking forward to that," Daly said, adding that Countryfied will be on the main stage Friday night.

The fair will have a bunch of things for the kids, such as a giant air slide and bouncy house jumpers that are going to be free for the little ones. There's also Toxic Meltdown, LaserTag, and a mobile gaming unit with video games.

"There will be a variety of things for free and some that will be pay to play," Daly pointed out.

Saturday's attractions include the Mutton Bustin' contest, where kids ride sheep, the 4-H and FFA Livestock Sale, and the FFA Alumni Barbecue.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for the Terri Clark concert. Countryfied will open for the country singer at 6:30 p.m.

"That will be the finale of the night," Daly said. "Then after she's done, Countryfied will be back on the main stage."

The fairgrounds has a partnership with members of the Crook County FFA Chapter, who are raising funds to attend their national conference next fall in Indiana. The fairgrounds will donate part of the concert ticket sales to FFA.

Daly encourages the community to come out to the Crook County Fair for "A Touch of Country."

"It's a showcase of our culture and of our community and what we do here as far as agriculture and our culture," he said.

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