The Thurston County Fair wants you — not just to attend but also to participate.
The fair, opening Wednesday, offers not only rides, games and food, but loads of chances for community groups and individuals to show their stuff.
“We really enjoy being a place where everybody from Thurston County can come see what’s new in the county,” fair coordinator Theresa Reid told The Olympian. “We really like to be that showcase.”
One easy way to participate that doesn’t require advance planning is to join in some or all of the fair’s old-time games, open to everyone. Among the games, inspired by the county fairs of years past, are slug shooting (done with gummy slugs), 11 a.m. Aug. 4; throwing rubber chickens, 5 p.m. Aug. 4; watermelon eating, 2 p.m. Aug. 5; hula hooping, 3:30 p.m. Aug. 5, and blowing bubbles with gum, 11:30 a.m. Aug. 6.
There are also father-son and mother-daughter look-alike contests (both at 5 p.m. Aug. 5), and kids can hunt for prizes in the hay scramble at 2 p.m. Aug. 6.
“All of these games and contests are free,” Reid said. “We want everyone to be able to participate in something.”
There are open baking competitions: chocolate cake (Aug. 3), cookies (Aug. 4), berry pies (Aug. 5) and cupcakes (Aug. 6). Entries are accepted between noon and 2 p.m., and judging begins at 2. Entrants get free admission to the fair.
“The competition is pretty fierce,” Reid said.
And there’s still time to exhibit something you made, drew or grew, depending on the category. Photography can be dropped off Friday and Saturday, art on Saturday and Sunday and pickles, jams and other foods on Monday. (Visit http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/fair/documents/exhibitor_guide/Fair-Guide-complete.pdf for details.)
The quality of work at the fair is impressive, said Laura Killian of Olympia.
“I entered a couple of crocheted pieces,” she said in a Facebook post. (The deadline for entering textiles has passed.) “Mine are fine and all, but there were some gorgeous quilts being entered.
“You should go just for the quilts.”
Thurston County Fair
What: The old-fashioned fair, starting Wednesday, offers everything from popular local musicians to agricultural education and old-fashioned fun.
When: From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Aug. 5 and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 6
Where: Thurston County Fairgrounds, 3054 Carpenter Road S.E., Lacey
Tickets: $7, $6 for ages 60 and older, $5 for ages 6-14, free for children 5 and younger. Wednesday, admission is $1 with a donation to the Thurston County Food Bank. Thursday is Kids Day, and those 14 and younger are admitted for $2. Aug. 4 is Military Appreciation Day; admission is $2 for active and retired military with ID.
Parking: $5 to park at the fair, free to park at Woodland Elementary School, 4630 Carpenter Rd. S.E., or the North Thurston Bus Barn, 6620 Carpenter Road S.E., and ride a shuttle to the gate.
More information: 360-786- 5453, www.co.thurston.wa.us/fair/
Also: Open-toed shoes or sandals aren’t allowed on the rides.
Live & Local
The fair spotlights local talent in its concert lineup, which is free with fair admission.
6 p.m. Forgotten 45s (songs from ’60s to the present)
7 p.m. Big Blue Van (reggae)
7 p.m. Lemmings (rock)
7 p.m. Six Pack Pretty (rock)
7 p.m. Oly Mountain Boys (bluegrass)
11 a.m. Robby Seay Band (Christian)
7 p.m. Off Ramp Undertones (Americana, classic rock and blues)
7 p.m. Blues County Sheriff (blues and swing)
2 p.m. Almost Blue (jazz)
4 p.m. Puget Sound barbershop singing
4:30 p.m. BackLash (classic rock and blues)