MENLO — It’s been two years since the Pacific County Fair was last held, and this year just so happens to be the whopping 125th celebration. The fair will again be held at the Menlo Fairgrounds and will last four days between Aug. 26-29.
The covid-19 pandemic put a damper on last year’s celebration, and Fair Manager Bill Monohon put together a last-minute drive-thru fair hoping to meet state requirements for 2021 funding. Unfortunately, the fair didn’t quite add up and left a small budget for this year, but he’s planning to make it memorable.
One of the first significant differences this year that fairgoers will notice is the lack of a carnival, even though Monohon spent months calling every carnival company from western Canada to southern Oregon. All had either been booked already or were out of business due to the pandemic or lack of staffing.
“I’ve got a bunch of games that I went and purchased myself to use and play here like ring toss, badminton, and I am still hoping to get a couple of the cornhole things that people can play,” Monohon said. “That’s all going to be free of charge.”
Monohon is still tracking down entertainment for the fair but has already booked beloved comedian/magician Jeff Evans and the Jeff Henry Band, who will be playing on Aug. 28. He hopes to find a reptile exhibit to have for kids and is contacting a company in Sequim.
Tickets will be available online and on the day of the fair with the help of Fair and Event Inc., which will be operating the ticket sales. He will be able to get a detailed data sheet after the fair for attendance. Tickets will cost $5 for children 5-17, $7 for adults 18-59, and $5 for adults 60 and older.
Fairgoers expecting to enjoy the festivities over the entire four days can also purchase a wrist pass for $10. On Aug. 26, veterans and senior citizens will have free admission to the fair. In place of wrist bands for everyone, Monohon plans to use a stamp system for daily fairgoers.
“We will have sanitizing stations all over the place,” Monohon said. “I’ve got 46 self-sanitizing stations where you wave your hand, and it dispenses sanitizer on you. We will have masks available and hand sanitizing available to make people feel comfortable, and those will be all over.”
Unless stricter state guidelines are imposed, fairgoers will not be required to wear a mask outdoors. Currently, the state has wholly reopened with masks only required in indoor venues unless the person is vaccinated.
Beyond entertainment, Monohon has lined up several food vendors this year that will include Asian cuisine, Thai cuisine, caramel corn, cotton candy, mini donuts, dippin dots ice cream, and additional menu items from the Lions Club. One bummer, though, will be the absence of the Willapa Valley Booster Club.
“Hopefully we will get our beer permit, and that section will be the beer garden,” Monohon said. “We are still waiting to see because we are riding the rail on the deadline. You need 45 days, and we are at like 41 days, so we will see if the state budges at all.”
The livestock shows for beef and hogs will be on Aug. 26, dairy on Aug. 27, and sheep and goats have not been determined. The livestock auction will be held on Aug. 28 at 1:00 p.m.
“Just come out and get out of the house,” Mohonon said. “There is plenty of space to spread out.”
Monohon hopes this year’s attendance will be strong since so many people have been stuck home, and the fair will be one of the few large events held this summer. Even with fewer attractions, he believes everyone can enjoy the festivities and freedom that was felt before 2020.
With just over five weeks to go before the fair, Monohon needs volunteers to help clean up and prepare the fairgrounds. He will also be hiring temporary workers to help with the fair and is expected to advertise the positions within the next week. Anyone interested is encouraged to call the fair office at 360-942-3713.