Ferris wheel, Pronto Pups, Pat Benatar — it’s Western Idaho Fair time

4 things you won't want to miss at the 2016 Western Idaho Fair

The Western Idaho Fair opened Friday, Aug. 19, at noon. There's plenty to do and see. Here are four things you definitely won't want to miss, and deals to take advantage of.
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The Western Idaho Fair opened Friday, Aug. 19, at noon. There's plenty to do and see. Here are four things you definitely won't want to miss, and deals to take advantage of.

Get ready for food on a stick, wild-and crazy rides, cute animals, big-name rockers, and tons of entertainment and excitement that you will see at the Western Idaho Fair.

Up in the air

Be sure to eat your elephant ears and cotton candy after you hit the midway, because this year, Butler Amusements, the company that produces the carnival rides and games, brings three new exciting rides to Idaho that might just upset your apple cart.

▪  The Inversion, pictured, takes you upside down and round and round while you’re suspended 80 feet in the air.

▪  The Quasar spins you around in two-person cars while the center of the wheel undulates.

▪  The Orbiter’s four twirling arms hold three spinning seats that whip riders around while they lift to become perpendicular to the ground.

Midway tickets: $1 each (rides require multiple tickets); $23 for a sheet of 25; $70 for 80; $30 for a one-day wrist band at ShareMyFair.com and the gate.

Fair food

Put that low-cal diet on hiatus when you’re on the fairgrounds. You’ll find all your favorites — corn on the cob, cotton candy, Pronto Pups, elephant ears, the Colossal Onion and fried candy bars — but are you ready for snails on a stick?

▪  Fair food gets exotic with Taste of Nigeria, a locally owned food cart that features West African delicacies, including spicy snail sticks, jollof rice (kind of a West African version of jambalaya) and grilled chicken, and cooked bean cake.

▪  Not so exotic, but new to the fair, you’ll also find locally owned Bodacious Pig with an array of barbecue, and Basilio’s street taco truck.

▪  There’s no end of the ways to satisfy your sweet tooth at the fair. This year’s new additions are gelati and granitas from Daisy’s Italian Ice and Mexican candies and piñatas from Candy Land.

Rock the Grandstand

Grandstand concerts are free with admission, and it’s first-come seating, so get there early if you want up front. All concerts are at 7:30 p.m.

▪  Up-and-coming Nashville country music recording artist Josh Turner will kick off the grandstand entertainment Tuesday, Aug. 23. The Grammy-nominated singer will perform his latest hit single “Hometown Girl,” plus his No. 1 songs “Why Don’t We Just Dance” and “All Over Me.”

▪  With one original member — bassist Mick Jones — this recast version of Foreigner will rock the grandstand on Wednesday, Aug. 24. You’ll hear all the hits from the 1970s icons, including “Cold as Ice,” “Urgent” and “Feels Like the First Time.”

▪  It’s a country music doubleheader with songwriting duo LoCash and country rockers Sawyer Brown on Thursday, Aug. 25. Both of these groups have racked up a serious amount of hits, so this should be great night to kick up your heels.

▪  It was a total “Heartbreaker” last year when Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo canceled their performance at the Western Idaho Fair because Giraldo had injured his eye. Now the multiple Grammy winners are back on Friday, Aug. 26, with their truckload of hits, including “Love is a Battlefield,” “We Belong” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.”

New grounds acts

▪  These pups won “America’s Got Talent” in 2015. Now they’re on tour, and you can see them at the fair. The Olate Dogs, a family-run canine variety show, has 10 doodles and two humans who perform a variety of impressive stunts, including a doggie conga line. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, to Saturday, Aug. 27, and 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Carnival Gate Stage.

▪  Out of Las Vegas, the Moto Maniacs are one of the top motorcycle acts in the country. You’ll see these daredevils fly on the high wire, master the Globe of Death, pictured, and more. 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, to Saturday, Aug. 27, and 1:30, 4:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28 in the Western Town parking lot.

▪  Check out premier circus artist Sean Emery. This comedy juggler learned his chops as a star for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and has performed at Radio City Music Hall, the White House and at venues around the globe. 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, to Tuesday, Aug. 23, on multiple stages. Check the visitor’s guide.

On exhibit

▪  The fair would not be the same without cute animals. Watch 4-H competitions in the Livestock Barn, the dairy goat milking competitions in the Sheep Ring and learn “How to Give a Chicken a Bath” at the Small Animal Barn.

▪  Head to the Ag Country for The Farmstead Corner display with interactive kids activities, an antique tractor display, the 10 Farm Family Award winners inside the Simplot Pavilion, and the Albertsons Farmers Market, with a mix of products from local farms on display and for sale.

Contests to catch

▪  The new show to catch this year is “Fair’s Got Talent,” a locally fueled variety show. The 10 finalists were chosen via social media earlier this summer. Nine will battle it out for the title of Fair VIP and more than $2,000 in prizes. 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, on the Spectra Stage. Watch videos of each of the finalists at ShareMyFair.com/competitions/fairs-got-talent.

▪  Head to Western Town for contests at 2 p.m. daily. See the Treasure Valley salsa contest on Sunday, Aug. 21, “Cupcake Combat” on Wednesday, Aug. 24, and “Cheezapalooza” on Friday, Aug. 26.

▪  A perennial favorite, the “Iron Arranger” floral-design contest, is at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, at Western Town.

▪  Meat fans won’t want to miss the “Claim to Fame BBQ” contest at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, on the Western Town pavers.

Special promotions

▪  Friday, Aug. 19: Opening day admission is free from noon to 2 p.m.

▪  Monday, Aug. 22: KTVB Family Day is a smoke- and alcohol-free day at the fair. Get one gate admission and one carnival wristband for $29.

▪  Sunday, Aug. 28: Idaho Statesman Armed Forces Day features free admission for active-duty military and veterans. All other admission is half off with the Idaho Statesman coupon, which you can clip from the paper Aug. 22-28. The day also includes free rides on The Giant Wheel and Carousel.

▪  The Fair Deals Coupon Book will get you discounts on food and more. Pick one up for $5 at any Statesman fair booth.

Western Idaho Fair

Noon to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, to Saturday, Aug. 27 and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. $7 general, $5 seniors, $4 children 6-11, in advance. $9 general, $7 seniors, $6 children 6-11, free for ages 5 and younger, at the gate. IdahoFair.com.