Story last updated at 7/22/2009 - 12:14 pm
The 41st Southeast Alaska State Fair kicks off July 30 with the theme "May the Fair be with You" and organizers say streamlined ticket prices, eclectic musical acts, contests, workshops, and activities for all ages are bound to make it memorable.
"This year's fair is going to be exciting. We are keeping our fingers crossed for great weather," said executive director Kelly Hostetler. "We're really working hard to add new food vendors, fun entertainment and new events."
Hostetler said the fair board this year had restructured ticket prices to include both day and evening entertainment so fairgoers wouldn't have to evacuate the fairgrounds and return later for headlining music acts.
Regular ticket prices are $10 on Thursday, July 30; $15 on Friday; $15 on Saturday; and $10 on Sunday. Four-day passes are $40. Children five years old and younger enter free and children 6-12 pay $6 each day.
Volunteers are needed to man the Children's Carnival in McPherson Barn and the popular Sumo Wrestling, to run the Ferris Wheel and drive the Train, to help with crafts on the children's stage, and help set up exhibits in Harriet Hall. "It takes about 100 volunteers to run the four-day fair," Hostetler said.
In addition to these events, there will be the Haines Hustle 5K, 10K and the newly added Trail Half Marathon on Saturday August 1, the Grand Parade, the Mechanical Bull, the Guy Hoffman memorial Horseshoe Tournament, the ever popular Logging Show, Commercial Fisherman's Rodeo, Kids Stage for crafts and games, Carousel, BINGO, Fiddle, Contest, the Lilliputian Puppet Sideshow, magician Ronnie Hauser. There will also be great food and vendors.
Hostetler said residents still have time to pitch in to make the event, which drew more than 7,000 people last year, a success. Moreover, said Hostetler, with the faltering economy, corporate sponsors and grants had been difficult to garner. "We're still looking for fair sponsors. If you can pitch in $25 or $100, anything helps."
Exhibits are due during the week prior to the fair. Non-perishable exhibits, including woodworking, writing, sewing, photographs, beer and preserved foods can be submitted Friday, July 24 or Saturday, July 25. Perishable items such as crops, flowers, and baked goods are due Wednesday, July 29.
Entertainment committee member Dan Henry said the goal of hiring performers had been to bring top quality acts to Haines, and, at the same time, to "make an income for the fair. In past years, we barely broke even." Henry said the committee had also focused on spreading great music throughout the day all four days.
Headliners this year are Albino!, a 10-piece San Francisco-based Afro beat ensemble heavy on horns and percussion and Pamyua, an award-winning indigenous quartet whose music is billed as Inuit tribal funk.
Musicians will play on the stage at Payson's Pavilion and in the Klondike Saloon. The beer garden opens at 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Fairgoers can also see performances by Vancouver Celtic punk band WhiskeyDicks; Washington blues performer Nicole Fournier; Spoonshine, an acoustic bluegrass jam band from Port Townsend, Wash.; Alaska String Band; the Nicole Edwards Trio from Whitehorse; classic rock-and-rollers Plaid, also of Whitehorse; Juneau blues band Chill Kats; and Juneau funksters LoveLifeMusic and Slow Gun Runner.
Local acts include singer-songwriter Burl Sheldon, former Haines resident Christie Hays, and Swing Set, and Sweet Sunny North.
A Seattle-based traveling circus, Circus Contraption, will perform acrobatics, high wire, theatrics, and clowning routines under Payson's Pavilion. Funnyman Jeff Brown of Juneau will entertain with magic, satire, and jokes. The Juneau Jumpers will perform on the main stage Saturday at noon and local magician Ronny Hauser will perform for youth. Salsa dancing pair Heather and Antonio of Juneau will lead classes.
Megan Sherman, entertainment committee member, said the fair this year would host workshops with entertainers, including with Pamyua, Circus Contraption, and Heather and Antonio.
Residents able to help entertain feed and house performers should call Sherman at 766-3638 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"There have been many fairs where the headliner or performers were eager to come because they heard from other bands who had played here what a fantastic time they had," said Sherman. "They heard about how they were taken out on someone's boat to check crab pots, or the great people who let them stay in their cabin."
For complete schedule of events and exhibit deadlines visit www.seakfair.org. Call the fair office at 766-2476 to donate time or money.