State Fair open for fun

Opening Day is Aug. 22


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A worker inspects light bulbs on a Golden Wheel Amusements carnival ride on Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer. The fair begins Aug. 22 and continues through Sept. 2.

Star photo by Matt Tunseth

Think big.

From eye-popping pumpkins to superstar entertainers, this year’s Alaska State Fair promises plenty to feed fairgoers’ Alaska-sized appetite for fun.  

The fair begins today (Aug. 22) in Palmer and continues through Sept. 2. Among the biggest names t this year’s 76h annual fair are platinum selling rockers Foreigner (Aug. 22), comedy legend Bill Cosby (Aug. 25) and former Poison lead singer Bret Michaels (Sept. 1).

Of course, it wouldn’t be a state fair without prodigious produce, and this year’s unofficial Super Bowl of gardening — the Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off — will be Friday, Aug. 30.
Fair admission ranges from $12 for adults and $8 for youth on weekdays to $14 for adults and $9 for kids on weekends. However, there’s also several discounted days during the fair, as well as promotional deals available on the fair’s website.

Here’s a day-by-day rundown of some of the fair’s highlights in the upcoming week. For more information or a complete schedule, visit alaskastatefair.org.

Thursday, Aug. 22
Oil and Gas Industry Energy Day. With a donation of 2 cans of food between noon and 2 p.m. on opening day, fairgoers can get $2 off admission. Day 1 is a music lover’s dream, with Hobo Jim entertaining for free at 4 p.m. at the Woodlot stage and Foreigner rocking the stage at the Borealis Theater at 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 23
MTA Kids Day. Kids 12 and under get in free! MTA is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a visit from musher Martin Buser at MTA’s Pioneer Plaza booth. To fight hunger, MTA is also asking people to bring two non-perishable food items per child. At 3 p.m., bring the kiddos by the Pebble Corral for a full slate of kids games. Bonus: Stick around the fairgrounds until 10 p.m. for a free fireworks show!

Saturday, Aug. 24
BP Family Day. Kids under 12 get in free again thanks to BP, which is also asking for non-perishable food items. Before hitting the parade, stop by downtown Palmer, where there’s an Alaska State Fair Parade at 11 a.m. The Heineken Stage at the Woodlot has some interesting events Saturday, including a moose calling and tall tails contest at 2 p.m. and a parent-child look-a-like contest at 4 p.m. And rodeo lovers won’t want to miss the State Fair Rodeo, which will be held at 2 p.m. both Aug. 24 and 25.

Sunday, Aug. 25
From Fat Albert to The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby has been one of America’s favorite comedians for generations. See the beloved funnyman in person at 3 p.m. at the Borealis Theater. If comedy’s not your thing, check out Eagle River’s own Alaska Moving Arts Center, which will perform jazz dance and shotokan karate at 3 p.m. on the Alyeska Pipeline Colony Stage.

Monday, Aug. 26
Always a fair favorite, the GCI petting zoo will be in full swing throughout the duration of the state fair. Located in the big green Farm Exhibits building, the petting zoo is free and features a wide variety of Alaska livestock — everything from giant pigs to miniature goats. And if you happen to at the Farm Exhibits building between 4 and 6:15 p.m., you’ll definitely want to check out the goat milking demonstrations.

Tuesday, Aug. 27
Feeling adventurous? There’s a skunk demonstration at 2 p.m. at the Farm Exhibits building. If you’d rather let others take risks for you, there’s always the Purple Plaza, where the King BMX Stunt Show will feature both aerial and flatland maneuvers of the two-wheeled variety. And fans of massive gourds won’t want to miss this year’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, which will be held at 2 p.m. in the Farm Events building.

Wednesday, Aug. 28
Senior Day. Bring the kids for a variety of activities aimed at the young and young at heart. In the Alaska Communications Kid Zone, Brad’s World of Reptiles will be performing throughout the afternoon, while the Alaska Glacier Products Borealis Plaza Tent will be home to senior games and events all day long.

Thursday, Aug. 29
Alaska Grown Day. Wear an Alaskan Grown t-shirt and get $2 off general admission. Later, get down with Compton-grown rapper Kendrick Lamar. One of the hottest names in rap, Lamar has a new album out called “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” on which he teams up with the likes of Jay-Z and Drake. 7 p.m. at the Aurora Borealis Theater.
 

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