The Thurston County Fair is filled with fun activities for all ages — competitions, live entertainment, rides, fair food and furry friends — as well as a big-time learning opportunity for kids involved in 4-H.
Among the 4-H participants setting up Tuesday were the Meek family at their “Crazy CRS 4-H” station in the Simons Barn. The CRS stands for cattle, rabbits and sheep, and with them were several “beefers” (beef cows), dairy cows and two 3-month-old calves, Spot and Amber.
Kendra Meek, 4-H leader and dairy and beef superintendent, will be at the fair with her six kids all week. Four of the six are showing various cattle, rabbits and sheep. Meek also is helping four other kids to show animals, two from Rochester and two from Lacey.
“It’s really an experience for the kids. It teaches them responsibility and compassion,” Meek said. “It’s teaching the kids about life and work ethic.”
Learning also takes place in Heritage Hall, which has foods and quilts on display. These are part of the various competitions in the home arts department. All of the items are homemade and represent a year’s work.
“These are things you don’t get to see anywhere,” said Theresa Reid, Thurston County Fair’s event coordinator.
The room is filled with beautifully crafted quilts of many assortments and colors. The grand champion quilt is already decided, but the “vote for your favorite quilt” competition will continue throughout the fair, as well as the competition to decide the quilt blocks for next year’s raffle quilt.
This year’s raffle quilt — a colorful yellow, blue and red pattern — is made from the 12 winning blocks from last year’s fair. Raffle tickets cost $1.
Superintendents of the Home Arts Department said many of the contest entrants are kids, some home-schooled and getting credit, who are learning about baking and other skills.
Carla Sontag, lead superintendent of the open class home arts department, said fair attendees have an opportunity to learn as well, because they can visit the displays and see many demonstrations throughout the week.
Some 50 to 75 demonstrators will be sewing, spinning, making quilts and even churning butter.
“This is a smaller county fair, so there’s more opportunity to get close to the exhibits and chat,” said Linda Robson, Thurston County’s public information officer. “It’s more intimate.”
Home arts foods on display are not to be eaten, but there’s plenty of fair food to be found throughout the grounds.
There’s no funnel cake at the fair this year, but there will be elephant ears and Lattin’s apple fritters among the favorites.
Last year’s fair brought in 35,000 attendees and fair organizers are expecting just as many people, even with temperatures expected to reach into the 90s by the weekend.
“It’s been hotter,” Reid said. “This is great fair weather to come out.”
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
July 29: One Buck Wednesday
Admission for all ages is $1 with a nonperishable donation per person to the Thurston County Food Bank.
July 30: Kids Day
All kids 14 and under get in for $2
July 31: Military appreciation day
Present your military ID and get in for $2.
Seniors (over 60): $6.
Youth (6-14): $5.
5 and under: Free.
Free parking at shuttle stops
Park at the North Thurston School District Bus Barn, 6620 Carpenter Road SE, Lacey, or Woodland Elementary School, 4630 Carpenter Road SE, Lacey. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes.