Summertime staple draws a crowd with animals, demolition derby

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - More than 100,000 people trekked to the fairgrounds to explore rides, shows, animals and old-fashioned fair food. More than 100,000 people braved the heat and crowds last week and headed to the Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro.

Annual attractions such as the draft horse show, tractor pull, demolition derby and Saturday night livestock auction drew crowds. Newer attractions like The Olate Dogs, 2012 America’s Got Talent winners, gathered gawkers consistently throughout the fair’s four-day run with their trick-performing pack of show dogs, said Leah Perkins-Hagele, fair complex manager.

Although attendance dropped by 9 percent from last year, animal exhibits and competitions went smoothly even as jets roared over the airport across the street during the Oregon International Air Show. Despite the anticipated problems stemming from the double-booking of the air show and fair on the same weekend, Perkins-Hagele said there were no issues.

One 4-H volunteer who asked not to be identified said the Monster Truck Show at the fair on Saturday night disturbed the horses more than the air show.

“The planes and fireworks add to the festivities. The Monster Trucks are just too loud,” said the volunteer.

Although the small animal barn didn’t host the usual chickens and rabbits, all barns were full of horses, cows, pigs, goats — and even alpacas.

Kids wandered starry-eyed through carnival games and animal shows, and flocked to the demonstration gardens — near the land products tent where the first annual scarecrow contest entries were displayed — for the chance to participate in a scavenger hunt and pull up a carrot.

Overall, the fair seemed to attract many of its traditional fans, who were never at a loss for corndogs, elephant ears, ice cream cones and lemonade while they perused animals, vendor tents, rides and 4-H entry displays.

Jim Redden contributed to

this story.

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