County Fair: Dock Dogs step aside for Sea Lion Splash

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



The 146th Clark County Fair

Hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 1; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 2 and Aug. 8-9; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 3-7 and Aug. 10.

Where: Clark County Fairgrounds, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

Cost: $10, $8 for seniors, $7 for children ages 7 to 12, free for ages 6 and younger; $6 for parking. Free admission 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 1 with coupon from Fred Meyer. Free for military personnel in uniform.

Information: 360-397-6180 or

Notable days:

• Opening Day, free pancake breakfast 8 to 11 a.m.; free admission until noon Aug. 1 with coupon from Fred Meyer.

• Family Day, Aug. 4. $5 admission for ages 7 to 12 with Chevron coupon from local stations.

• Military Appreciation Day, Aug. 5. $7 for past and present military personal.

• Prime of Your Life Day, Aug. 6. Entertainment and activities honoring seniors, with $6 for senior admission.

• Kids' Day, Aug. 7. $5 admission for ages 7 to 12.

Fair Concert Series:

All concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are free with general admission. Reserved seating is available for $20 to $25.

• Night Ranger, Aug. 1.

• Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Aug. 2.

• Lonestar, Aug. 3.

• Chase Rice, Jackson Michelson, Aug. 4.

Free grandstand entertainment:

• Barrel Racing, 2 p.m. Aug. 5.

• Roughstock Rodeo, 7 p.m. Aug. 5.

• Mutton Bustin', 2 p.m. Aug. 6.

• Bull Riding, 7 p.m. Aug. 6.

• Moto X, 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 7.

• Demolition Derby, 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 8.

• Tuff Trucks, 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 9.

• Monster Trucks, 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 10.

Everybody loves the Dock Dogs at the Clark County Fair, but this year they'll be taking a break to let a new show make a splash.

John Morrison, manager of the fair, let the dogs out and replaced them with sea lions — through a new event and fair theme called Sea Lion Splash.

"For the last five or six years right at the front gate we had the Dock Dogs," Morrison said. "But once you have an attraction that long you need to switch things up. So they're taking a year off. The sea lions go well with our pirate high-dive show, and they just drove the theme this year."

The show, put on by Florida's Squalus Inc., will have trained sea lions performing tricks, but it's also aimed at educating the public about the animals.

"It's designed to teach people about sea lions and how they interact with us," Morrison said. "Squalus, they're a really green company. They're focused on nature, conservation. It's about how we coexist."

4H groups and other participants have decorated the Clark County Fairgrounds with a theme that includes sea lions and splashing water.

But there's more to see than just sea.

The main exhibit hall, for instance, is all about toys. The feature, Toytopia, looks at the history of toys from the 1800s to modern day.

And part of that is something kids will love called Lego Lane, said Matt Ferris, marketing director.

"Our entertainment staff teamed up with Bricks & Minifigs (in Canby, Ore.) to create a huge area with Legos and Duplos," Ferris said. "Kids will be able to create their own masterpieces and buy them if they want. We'll also have Lego artists on hand showing their creations."

Fair Con, the gaming, anime and science fiction mini-convention that launched last year, will be back again with a Magic The Gathering tournament, cosplay and a small film festival.

The event was hugely successful and could become a more long-term part of the fair, Morrison said.

"As long as the feature in the (main expo) building has space, I think we'll be keeping it," Morrison said. "It's very popular."

Other attractions, going with the water theme, include the High Diving Pirates of the Caribbean Show and the return of the Pirate Parrot Adventure.

"The year we didn't have the Pirate Parrot Adventure I got a lot of feedback asking me to please bring it back," Morrison said.

And another bonus? Admission and parking for the event are exactly the same as they have been for the past four years: admission will be $10, $8 for seniors, $7 for children ages 7 to 12, and free for ages 6 and younger and parking will be $6.

"People this year are paying the same prices they paid in 2010," Morrison said.

Morrison said he hopes the weather stays sunny so people can enjoy the region's biggest summer festival.

"I think the staff has done an outstanding job of putting together an event with fun, family entertainment and education," Morrison said. "It's a great bargain."