MENLO — It started in 1896, four years after the first annual Washington state agricultural fair in Yakima.
Today, the 123rd annual Pacific County Fair continues with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 and resumes daily through Saturday, Aug. 24, with a full lineup of family-friendly entertainment under theme ‘Carnival Lights and Country Nights.’
In addition to the carnival rides, games, concessions and contests, there will be curious sights, rare animal specimens, and live entertainment from three comedians and nine bands spread across the four-day fair. Among the musicians is headliner Jessica Lynne and the up-and-coming Robert Henry Band.
Lynne features a “contemporary take on country music with a female power at the forefront.”
She released her latest album in June titled ‘Warning Label,’ the feature track she plans to perform at the fair on Friday.
Born and raised in Denmark, Lynne has followed an untraditional path to the stage starting when she heard a Faith Hill song.
“I grew up in Denmark, it was just by chance that I heard the song — you don’t really get country music over there,” Lynne said during an interview on Aug. 17.
“When I heard that song (‘Wild One’), I felt like I found a genre that I could really connect with. It was a defining moment and inspired me to become a singer.”
Lynne has since opened for stars including Diamond Rio, Trace Adkins and Jeff Foxworthy. She has been featured at festivals alongside Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Little Big Town.
She counts country star Kenny Chesney as one of her biggest influences, inspiring her to take control of her career instead of waiting to be discovered. Renowned songwriter Gary Burr is another, she said.
“His songs made me want to become a songwriter,” Lynne said.
“When I was listening to Burr’s song ‘I Would Be Stronger That.’ At that point I had never heard songs that addressed really heavy issues in a beautiful way.”
Lynne has been touring nationally and internationally the past three years, after moving to the United States in 2010.
Friday will be the first time Lynne has performed in Pacific County, but the beginning of things to come.
“I’m planning on a national tour next year that will be fairs and festivals mostly,” she said.
“Stepping out on stage and getting a chance to rope in audience for the first time and share my music with them, that’s my favorite part,” Lynne said. “
People should expect a high-energy show with some kick-butt country and a good time.”
Robert Henry Band
Robert Henry Wasman is Florida-born and Oregon-raised “with a distinct outlaw meets traditional country music.”
The 26-year-old rocker turned country singer evokes a sound reminiscent of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
Henry has been touring saloons, casinos and county fairs since winning Battle of the Bands in 2018, but resisted auditioning for the ‘The Voice,’ choosing to instead follow a more grassroots path by developing a following locally first. Henry promises a high-energy and engaging performance as one of the Pacific Northwest’s fastest rising country stars.
Comedians Joe Staddord, Louie Foxx and Jeremiah Johnson are scheduled to perform throughout the week.
The Dog Walkers, Spike and the Continentals, Puget Sounders Chorus, Brewer’s Grade, Dusty Mojo, Gypsy Roadhouse and Folk, Country and Beyond are also scheduled.
The daily fair admission price for adults is $7; seniors $5; children (ages 6-12) $5.
Friday, Aug. 23 is Senior and Military Day, free admission for military and ages 60 and over.
Saturday, Aug 24, is Kid’s Day; free admission for children under age 12.
For a full list of fair entertainment and times, visit https://co.pacific.wa.us/pcfair/Entertainment.html.