Thurston County Fair adds some different flavors to traditional offerings

The Thurston County Fair — that oh-so-traditional fair filled with animals, rides and the kind of food that probably shouldn’t be indulged in more than once a year — now has an edge.

At the fair this weekend, you can see animals being auctioned off and watch judges decide who bakes the best pie, but you can also check out the talents of tattoo artists, attend a wine tasting, and hear the kind of tunes usually found in downtown bars.

“There are lots of tattoo parlors in Thurston County, and we thought that would be an interesting art form,” said Theresa Reid, the fair’s event coordinator. “We’re always trying to bring new people into the fair.”

The contest, at 4 p.m. Saturday, will give local artists the chance to show off their work. They’re required to bring along the people they’ve tattooed, and the show will be appropriate for all ages, Reid said.

“The tattoos are only in appropriate areas,” she said.

This is the first year for the tattoos and the second year for music by such local favorites as the Brown Edition, playing at 6 p.m. Saturday, and DBST, a funk-blues-rock band that plays both originals and covers with a twist.

“It is a truly amazing band,” said Danielle Westbrook, the assistant to Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela and coordinator of the Live & Local Concert Series.

Westbrook first heard DBST when her band Luna Melt opened for that group. She also plays with Bevy.

“I was floored by DBST,” she said. “They blew me away.”

The Savor South Sound wine, beer and cider tastings is also in its second year, with a few changes this year.

First, no matter which beverage you prefer, you can taste it both days that the tastings are open. “Last year, we got a lot of people on the wine day who were beer drinkers and vice versa,” said Becca Pilcher, assistant to County Commissioner Sandra Romero and the organizer of the tastings.

The tasting area also will offer samples of grilled salmon and shellfish and bites from vendors at the Olympia Farmers Market.

And the tastings have moved outside and are close to the fair’s food court and the food-court stage.

“A big challenge last year was the location,” Pilcher said. “This year, we’ll be right next to the food and the music.

“I just got a call from a woman who was a representative from a local Olympia beer-drinking club, and she said that they were going to bring the whole club.

“They were really excited about it.”