The 10-day Western Idaho Fair attracts about 250,000 visitors each year, and part of the fun for many is the contests.
More than 16,000 entries in 21 different departments are judged annually.
Everything from cows to cookies, and alpacas to zinnias, said Hans Bruijn, a longtime Dutch-American dairy farmer who has supervised the fairs premium office for the past seven years.
Bruijn oversees the approximately 250 people the fair brings in to make sure things get judged promptly most before the fair gates open and the $150,000 in prize money is paid out.
Many prizes are worth $3 to $5, but some, including for dairy cattle, are more than $100.
Bruijn works from early in the morning until the fair shuts down each night at 11. He doesnt get out of the premium office much not even to enjoy the free concerts in the grandstand. (Foreigner and The Guess Who are among six groups this year).
Generally, I can hear it from the office, he said.
Bruijn and other fair staff shared their best bets for new attractions and old favorites.
CAMELS, MONKEYS AND ZIP LINE, OH MY!
Whats new at the fair this year? Plenty.
Animal attractions: Camel ride, anyone? Yes, you may jump on the humps this year for just $5 thanks to Dustins Top Notch Camel Rides near Gate A.
Those who are wild about monkeys can catch a live show at the fair.
Carnival rides: The Vertigo has swings that fly 100 feet above the ground, and the White Water Log Flume ride is ... well, what is sounds like.
Zip-line rides: Fairgoers can take a 120-foot ride across the Western Town parking lot (two rides go for $10). Weight restrictions for safety mean that only people lighter than 250 pounds may enjoy the zip line.
Opening day only: The LivFast Freestyle Motocross team will roar onto the grandstand track at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday.
Were not sure where this fits into animal husbandry, but it should be a lot of fun. See costumed llamas and alpacas at 7 p.m. Friday at Western Town Barn. See small animals race and in costume at 5:15 p.m. Sunday at the Small Animal Building. See a horse costume contest at 7 p.m. Saturday in D & B Supply Arena.
MY NEIGHBOR MADE THAT?
Youd be surprised at the amazing things entered in the hobby/crafts department at the fair.
Amateurs and professionals have separate categories. This years entries include: a full-sized Basque shepherds wagon; an antique cherry fly-tying cabinet; an all-gourd giraffe; a working apple press; and a gorgeous maple curio cabinet.
The go green category features items made from recycled materials, such as hats knitted from plastic bags and greeting cards turned into boxes. Find this in the South Expo Building.
HOOK EM HORNS
Ever see a longhorn up close? Dont miss a chance. The Texas Longhorn Show is at 11 a.m. at Western Town Barn on Saturday, Aug. 24.
The newest booth at the fair is Bacon-on-a-Stick near the Garden Stage. And the staff in the fairs premium office rave about Ranch Concessions chicken/cheese pitas. The pita booth is on food row.
Get a coupon for a deal on a chicken-and-cheese pita in the Statesman coupon book.
ANIMALS AND KIDS
One of Bruijns fair favorites is seeing kids show animals. Check it out yourself: large animal round robin (beef, dairy, swine, sheep, goat, horse, llama/alpaca), 4 p.m. Tuesday; show rings 1, 2 and 3.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413