In Our View: Fair Stars Aligning

Good weather, tons of fun, fine concerts are lined up for Clark County’s biggest event

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Clark County Fair Tips and information

Leave the driving to the professionals and avoid parking hassles by taking a C-Tran shuttle from Westfield Vancouver Mall, 99th Street Transit Center or Fisher’s Landing Transit Center, plus locations in Ridgefield, La Center and Battle Ground. A $2 shuttle includes a $1 discount on a fair ticket. Schedule details at C-Tran.

Fair tickets are $10 adults, $8 seniors (62 and older), $7 children 7-12 and free for children younger than 7. Save $2 per ticket by buying in advance at Clark County Fair.

Five great concerts at the Sleep Country Amphitheater: Beach Boys on Friday; REO Speedwagon on Saturday; Dierks Bentley and Josh Kelley on Monday; Three Days Grace and My Darkest Days on Tuesday; and Motley Crue and Poison on Thursday, Aug. 9. Each concert is at 7:30 p.m., except Thursday’s which starts at 7 p.m.

A fair ticket does not include any of the concerts, but a concert ticket does include fair admission.

This year’s featured exhibit is “The Old Firehouse,” with two centuries of firefighting equipment, including an 1805 hose carriage from Philadelphia and a factory-fresh 2012 pumper.

How could anyone pass up a chance to see the Best-Dressed Chickens or hear the Rooster-Crowing Contest? Or marvel at the soaring DockDogs? Or applaud the “winner” of the Demolition Derby?

They’re calling it “Summer’s Best Party,” but we like to think of the Clark County Fair as the biggest (250,000-plus attendees), longest (10 days) and most extravagant ($3 million in production costs) event of the year.

And others share our opinion. The Clark County Fair is consistently honored by the Washington State Fairs Association. And it’s the largest fair in the Portland area, thanks to a powerful combination of great fair fare and outstanding concerts at the Sleep Country Amphitheater.

Today marks the opening of the big show, and if you can’t find something to attract your attention from a vast list of activities, animals, traditional and weird food offerings and downright bizarre feats by humans, machines and critters … well, you need to check your pulse.

Local residents have ample reason to point to the Clark County Fair and boast: “This is something we do right.” Yep, when it comes to fairs, we get it, and we’ve been getting it for 143 years.

Beyond the fun and excitement, the Clark County Fair also serves as a source of significant revenue for a broader “fair fund” maintained by the county. The fair itself is a big moneymaker. Last year it turned a $300,000 profit. But those profits also help support the horse arena and the Clark County Event Center, and the fair fund through June 30 was $101,968 in the red.

We have confidence that the fair’s lineup of events and activities, an impressive lineup of concerts and outstanding weather will send that fair fund back — far back — into the profit margin.

Fair officials and volunteers have performed masterfully through the years, but they’re always subject to several variables. The biggest of these is the weather. Three rainy days in 2009 kept attendance at 243,698. Last year, if temperatures had not shot up to the high 90s on the last weekend, attendance would’ve been even better than 254,797.

This year, though, we haven’t even hit 90 all year, and long-range weather forecasts call for fair-friendly conditions. Also, many fairs elsewhere have had successful runs this year. All of those factors have fair officials here aiming for the 275,000 attendance mark.

And we think they’ll get it. Check out our tips here, and visit the fair’s website for more details.