Smells of deep fried food and fresh hay bales wafted down the lane as crowds waited in line Friday for their free pancake breakfast., Smells of deep fried food and fresh hay bales wafted down the lane as crowds waited in line Friday for their free pancake breakfast.
For the past 17 years, Fred Meyer has hosted a free breakfast on the first day of the Clark County Fair to those who purchase their tickets at a Fred Meyer or another participating location. The voucher includes free admission into the fair until noon, and a free breakfast of pancakes, yogurt, chocolate milk, juice and arguably the underdog of the meal: Smokies, Kroger-brand cocktail sausages. The breakfast runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and each year volunteers and staff serve up around a whopping 30,000 pancakes.
Friday marked the first day of the fair since 2019.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the breakfast line often wrapped around the entirety of the food court, taking up to an hour to reach the covered pancake tent. This year the line never went past the southern corner of the court.
It took Pooh Weems and her family less than 10 minutes to round the north corner of the food court leading to the pancake tent, with the line continuing to move. Weems said she discovered the pancake breakfast on Facebook, and having moved from Dallas earlier this year the family was eager to try out a new fair.
“I’m excited to see what all this fair holds,” she said. “Especially the food.”
Clark County Fair
$11.25 for adults.
$9.25 for seniors 62 and older.
$8.25 for children ages 7-12.
Free for children 6 and younger.
- Rides open at noon daily, with the exception of starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 5.
- Barns close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 14.
Sunday, Aug. 7 to Thursday, Aug. 11: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 12 to Saturday, Aug. 13: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 14: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Monday, Aug. 8: Family Day. Admission is $6.25 for kids ages 7-12; kids 6 and younger are free.
- Tuesday, Aug. 9: Military appreciation day. Admission is $7.25 per person for current and past military, with military I.D.
- Wednesday, Aug. 10: Prime of Your Life Day. Senior admission is $7.25 for those 62 and older.
- Thursday, Aug. 11: Kids’ Day. Admission is $6.25 for ages 7-12, 6 and younger free.
Parking: $8 per vehicle, cash or card. Sold onsite. No reentry.
C-Tran: Free shuttle service to the fair from locations across Vancouver, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, La Center and Fisher’s Landing. For details on scheduling and pickup sites go to https://www.c-tran.com/fair.
$1 per ride credit.
$35 for wristbands onsite or online.
Rides require 3-5 credits per person.
Kassandra Perez and her mom, Sonia Perez, have been going to the fair for more than 10 years. Attending the pancake breakfast is a tradition: they show up before 8 a.m. on the first day to beat the line. Then they sit in the covered grandstand and feast on the pancakes and sausages in preparation of a long day of walking. Kassandra Perez looks forward most to the “little sausages.”
“The pancake breakfast is my favorite part,” Sonia Perez said. “We’re excited to finally be back.”
More than 60 Fred Meyer employees helped set up, flip pancakes, hand out water bottles and clean up. Portland Coffee Roasters partners to provide free coffee for the event. Vouchers for the breakfast have to be obtained in advance at a Fred Meyer location, or participating People’s Community Credit Union or Wilco.
Volunteers Jasmine Anaya and Hannah Coplin showed up at the fairgrounds at 5 a.m. to help unload the two long, Fred Meyer trucks.
“The first lady in line was in front by 6:30 a.m., in a lawn chair,” Anaya said. “By 7 a.m. the line was back by the hot tub stall.”
Performers including local magician Adam the Great and a towering man on stilts walked along the line, interacting with attendees to help distract both kids and adults from the wait.
The breakfast is a “Zero Hunger, Zero Waste” project by Fred Meyer in partnership with the Clark County Food Bank. After the lines disperse at 11 a.m., any leftover food is donated to the Clark County Food Bank. With around 12,000 to 16,000 attendees this year, the remaining food came out to less than a full pallet.
Jeffery Temple, Fred Meyer director of corporate affairs, has helped oversee the meal for the last 10 years.
“It’s really fun,” Temple said, looking at the rows of people under the large white tent. “And it’s a great way to kick off the start of the fair.”
Clark County Fair Grandstand event schedule
Friday, Aug. 5: Daughtry at 7 p.m. in the RV In Style Resorts Grandstand. Free seating available.
Saturday, Aug. 6: Cheap Trick at 7 p.m. in the RV In Style Resorts Grandstand. Free seating available.
Sunday, Aug. 7: Martina McBride at 7 p.m. in the RV In Style Resorts Grandstand. Free seating available.
Monday, Aug. 8: Blood, Sweat & Tears at 7 p.m. in the RV In Style Resorts Grandstand. Free seating available.
Tuesday, Aug. 9: Mutton Bustin’ at 2 p.m.; Hell on Hooves Rodeo at 7 p.m. (Mutton Bustin’ finals during 7 p.m. event.)
Wednesday, Aug. 10: Demolition Derby at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 11: Side by Side Racing at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 12 and Saturday, Aug. 13: Tuff Trucks at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 14: Monster Trucks at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.