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Gates open for King County Fair

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Demolition derby will bring things to a crashing halt Sunday

Kicking off its 144th year, the King County Fair - the oldest county fair west of the Mississippi - boasts a full slate of time-honored events and attractions, plus plenty of new-found traditions.

The fair opens a five-day run today, Wednesday, at the fairgrounds in Enumclaw.

Signature standards, including cuddly critters, carnival rides and corndogs are in no short supply at this year's fair. Kicking things off at noon today will be the Critter Crowning Contest, where finalists such as Pete and RePete the fainting goats, or Ron Weasly the rabbit, duke it out for the title of “Royal Critter,” the official mascot of the fair.

Three stages will feature free entertainment throughout the run of the fair. Headlining the evening line-up is up-and-coming country star (not to mention Buckley native and White River High graduate) Blaine Larsen, who takes to the South Stage at 8 p.m. Friday. Tonight, revisit old favorites on “Walk the Line Wednesday” with “The Illusion of Johnny Cash: The Ultimate Tribute Show.” Dress like Johnny Cash and get a half-price discount on admission to the fair from 5 to 7 p.m.

“People say they love the family-friendly atmosphere of the King County Fair - that this is an old-fashioned event where everyone can come together and have a relaxing, fun time,” said King County Fair Manager Sharon Roberts. “This year we're introducing newer fair traditions to breathe some new life into our lineup.”

For example, monster truck rides and a demolition derby/rollover competition kick the rodeo arena action into high gear. Guests can take a ride in an American Thunder Monster Truck today through Saturday, from 5 p.m. to closing. The first-annual King County Fair Demolition Derby and Rollover Competition will bring the fair to a crashing conclusion at 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. Sunday fair admission is included with ticket purchase.

General admission prices for the fair are $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12 and $6 for seniors 62 and older. Access to all entertainment shows except the demolition derby and rollover competition is included with the price of admission.

Fair hours are: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

This year's fair highlights include:

Wednesday

Opening Day ceremonies with King County Critter Crowning Contest at noon.

Grandparents Day - Tickets for children and seniors are half price until 6 p.m.

Safeway Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. A $1 donation includes breakfast and free fair admission until noon. Tickets are available at the Enumclaw Safeway.

“Walk the Line Wednesday” - dress like Johnny Cash and get in for half price from 5 to 7 p.m.

Thursday

Bracelet Day - Carnival ride bracelets good for unlimited rides during one of two sessions (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 to 10 p.m.). Cost is $20.

Concert: The Beatniks, 8 p.m. on South Stage.

Friday

Concert: Blaine Larsen, 8 p.m. on South Stage

Saturday

Family Day, sponsored by Qwest. Admission is $20 for a family of four, maximum two adults. Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback for the AFC champion Seattle Seahawks, will greet fairgoers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bull of the Woods Logging Competition, 1 p.m. in Loggers Arena

Concert: Jonathan Harris, 7 p.m. on South Stage. Opening will be Gypsy Star at 5 p.m.

Sunday

Demolition Derby Day and Bracelet Day. A ticket to the evening demolition derby includes fair admission. Carnival ride bracelets ($20) are good for unlimited rides between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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