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Western Idaho Fair has several new rides plus fun “pop-up” contests

The Western Idaho Fair drew 235,000 visitors last year, including about 10,000 people in the first two hours — which were free admission.

The Sky Ride, which looks like a two- or three-person ski lift, is the biggest new attraction at the fair. The 74-chair lift offers an eight- to 10 minute ride, with a view of the festivities from four stories off the ground. It moves slowly, like 1 to 1.5 mph.

The ride costs $6, and once you pay that you get unlimited rides.

Can you bring a drink or snack on the Sky Ride? Yes, but please, no shenanigans.

“If they drop something, they’re going to be accountable for it,” Fair Director Bob Batista said. That hasn’t been a problem at other fair sites that have it, he said.

The Sky Ride is a permanent ride, built and operated by Butler Family Fun. Twenty percent of ride profits are shared with the fair.

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The Penguin High Dive is set up and ready for flying penguins! (Photo by Katy Moeller)

The Penguin High Dive is a new act this year, though be aware that this doesn’t involve real penguins. It features humans dressed as penguins diving into a tank of water from as high as 84 feet.

Two popular attractions — the Fido 500 mini-dog races and Splash Dogs (dogs jump in a pool) — are both back this year. Those who want to enter their own dog in a Splash Dog dock-jumping contest can find the registration information online; entry fee is $25.

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There are amazing arts and crafts entries in the contests at the Western Idaho Fair. Where else are you going to find a vest, or suit of armor, made entirely of pop can tabs? (Photo by Katy Moeller)

The two Saturdays of the fair draw the most people, around 35,000 to 45,000 people each. If you prefer a less crowded day, then hit the fair Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday — those days have grandstand concerts, too (free with admission).

Poison’s Bret Michaels is kicking off the grandstand lineup Tuesday, as Michael Deeds reported in May. Styx will rock the fairgrounds Wednesday, and Comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias will perform Thursday. Country singer Randy Houser is the featured act Friday. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., and shows start at 7:30.

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What’s new in fair food this year? This is one of the new offerings: mini donuts. (Photo by Katy Moeller)

A few of the fun “pop-up” contests this year include: Jalapeno Eating Contest , 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19.; Watermelon Eating Contest, 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20.; and Pie Eating Contest, 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. To participate, sign up one hour before the contests at the Albertsons Farmers Market, located south of the Small Animal Barn at the fairgrounds.

Two new carnival rides for thrill seekers are Turbo and Mega FLIP. Turbo takes riders on a 70 mph spin at the end of an arm that’s 120 feet in the air, while Mega FLIP gives riders a feeling of weightlessness, with seats that spin.

Admission prices this year are: $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for youth; carnival wristbands are $30.

The 10-day fair runs through 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, at 5610 N. Glenwood St. It runs noon to 11 p.m. daily; noon to 9 p.m. on the last day.

Get the full schedule of events at or download the free Western Idaho Fair mobile app.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413

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