At Western Idaho Fair, every day is hump day — but in a good way

The event has its usual array of rides, events and animals; plus, you can ride a camel.

kmoeller@idahostatesman.comAugust 16, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    The Western Idaho Fair is at Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. Friday through Sunday, Aug. 25.

    Hours: Noon to 11 p.m. every day: A, B, C, and F gates. Closing day: Noon to 9 p.m.

    Admission: Adults and kids 12 and older, $8; children 6 to 11, $5; children 5 and younger, free; seniors 62 and older, $6.

    Carnival ride tickets: One carnival ride ticket, $1; wrist band, $30 for whole day; sheet of 25 tickets, $23; sheet of 80, $70.

    Special discounts: On Monday, which is Family Day, get one gate admission and carnival wristband for $25. Sunday, Aug. 25, is Armed Forces Day (service members get in free by showing military ID card, VA medical card or DD-214 form). Non-military can get in half price Aug. 25 with a coupon from Idaho Statesman (in paper Aug. 20-25, and at Statesman booth).

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 fair’s 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 doesn’t 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!

What’s 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 Dustin’s 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.

COSTUMED ANIMALS

We’re 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?

You’d be surprised at the amazing things entered in the hobby/crafts department at the fair.

Amateurs and professionals have separate categories. This year’s entries include: a full-sized Basque shepherd’s 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.

Click here to see a video of some of the "largest" entries at this year's fair. A photo gallery is .

HOOK ’EM HORNS

Ever see a longhorn up close? Don’t miss a chance. The Texas Longhorn Show is at 11 a.m. at Western Town Barn on Saturday, Aug. 24.

FAIR FOOD

The newest booth at the fair is Bacon-on-a-Stick near the Garden Stage. And the staff in the fair’s premium office rave about Ranch Concession’s 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 Bruijn’s 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

 

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