RICKREALL -- The 2010 Polk County Fair will feature fun for the whole family starting Thursday, Aug. 12, during its four-day "barnyard party."
That is especially true for families with a taste for rodeo action thanks to the addition of a new event, Friday's Family Night Rodeo.
Coordinated by the Northwest Youth Rodeo Association, the event will give mom, dad and kids chances to compete in several rodeo events. Parents and kids older than 19 can test their talent in barrel racing and calf roping. Children 6 and younger can give mutton busting a try, and parent-and-kid teams will race to snag a ribbon from the tail of a calf and run to a finish line in ribbon roping.
Fair Manager Tina Andersen said she was pleased to see another family-oriented event added to this year's fair schedule.
"I'm really excited about the Family Night Rodeo," Andersen said. "That's our niche, making this a family fair."
The new rodeo showcase is just one of several new events happening at the fairgrounds this week.
Organizers have added an opening night gospel show to the annual talent competition, which will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.
"We were looking for something good for Thursday night for Senior Day," Andersen said.
Sunday's Painted Hills Natural Beef Backyard Grilling Competition also is new this year. Winners of the contest will move on to state-level competition at the Oregon State Fair.
Returning for this year will be Kids Town America and Teen Zone, which were new in 2009. Teen Zone will offer the popular Wii and Guitar Hero video games.
Andersen hopes last year's pleasant weather also will make a repeat appearance. She said temperatures hovered around the low- to mid-80s all four days in 2009. So far, weather reports look good early, but forecasts call for highs in the 90s by the weekend.
"The weather is supposed to be really nice," she said, adding that high temperatures, not summer showers, make the days miserable. "It's really the heat that kills us. The rain doesn't really bother us."
Those looking for the more traditional features of the county fair will find that many of the classic events remain. There will be animals, exhibits, a carnival, classic fair food, and vendors selling items varying from corn on the cob to psychic readings.
Andersen said she is expecting about the same number of animal exhibits this year.
This year's "Barnyard Party" theme, while close to the animal-centered heart of the fair, was meant to be whimsical fun, Andersen said.
"We thought it would be fun to decorate for it," she said.
The public will be able to see the fairgrounds transformed for its thousands of guests -- nearly 15,500 people attended in 2009, according to the Oregon Fair Association -- when the gates open to the public at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Among the other fair highlights of note are the Youth Talent Showcase Friday starting at 5 p.m., the Adult Talent Showcase Saturday beginning at 5 p.m., the annual 4-H and FFA Youth Livestock Market Auction Saturday at 6 p.m., and the corn on the cob eating contest Sunday at 11 a.m.
If You Go ...
2010 Polk County Fair.
Polk County Fairgrounds, 520 S. Pacific Highway (99W), Rickreall.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adults (16 and older), $6; Juniors (ages 11-15), $3; Seniors (ages 62 and up), $3; Children 10 and younger, free.
Adults, $15; Juniors and Seniors, $8; Children 10 and younger, free.
For more information: