Yakima Valley Fair, Rodeo opens today

Ready for the Fair — Pictured left to right are, back row, Amariah Bradshaw, Amarisah Osborn, Elizabeth Osborn, Shelly Durfey, Martina Charvet, Jake Van Pelt, Joanne Vining, and Barbara Merz. Front row are Carol Bos, Cathy Mears, and Willard Mears. Not pictured is Jessica Gonzales.

GRANDVIEW — It’s fair time! The Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo will start off loud and proud this year with the addition of a new PA system the foundation has installed.

The 95th anniversary of the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo begins today Wednesday, August 11 and ends Saturday, August 14. The hours run from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. and will feature vendors, arts and crafts, animals, and a rodeo.

The community supporting the fair raised $29,200 in one night to help get the new PA system setup. According to Joanne Vining the 2019 dinner and auction was the source of the funds for the system.

“We do a thing called ‘raise the paddle,’ and we have a designated project that we announce what we’re going to do,” Martina Charvet said.

The ‘raise the paddle’ event is an auction where attendees donate to the specific project at hand. “The attendees were very generous,” Vining said.

The PA system project originally started in 2019. The system will reach fair guest across the entire fairgrounds opposed to the smaller ones of years past used to announce judging’s and animal showings.

The main usage of the new system is for safety and announcing purposes. Announcements regarding an active shooter, lost child, or medical emergencies can now be broadcast across the grounds. Vining and Charvet both agreed that the PA system will make fair volunteers and guests feel a lot safer compared to recent years.

Fair volunteers have several other projects that have been funded through donations of community members. The bleachers where the rodeo is held was a part of one year’s dinner and auction program. Also, multiple metallic signs posted with past fair participants names can be found on certain fairground buildings. The metallic sign project is “still ongoing,” Charvet commented.

The fair will be filled with several different events that community members will be able to attend.

Swine, sheep, and beef classifications will be held Wednesday morning, a Team Penning/Ranch Sorting event is set for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Tractor driving will be hosted Thursday afternoon, and the rodeo events begin Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The entrance fee to the fair this year is free, and the rodeo admittance fee is $20.

“Come on out and see your friends,” Cathy Mears said when discussing the fair.

A full schedule is available at yvfair-rodeo.org.

Trevor Bradford can be contacted at 509-837-4500 ext. 110 or email tbradford@sunnysidesun.com

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