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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Benton County Fair and Rodeo Kicks Off

Benton County Fair and Rodeo Kicks Off
By Heather Turner

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Fair season is here, and Wednesday is opening day of the Benton County Fair and Rodeo.

And that's great news for families, because Wednesday is Kid's Day, meaning children 12 and under get in free.

And if that's not incentive enough, there are big changes in store for fairgoers.

When you head out to the Benton County fairgrounds you're going to notice a lot has changed.  One of the biggest, and perhaps most obvious changes, are all of the new rides.

They go up, and around, upside down, but one of them does something that most of you have never experienced.

"It's the only one of it's kind in the northwest," said Rob Rhew, Funtastic Shows Vice President.

It's basically a giant swing that spins you around.

"I just like this ride because it looks like it goes really high," said Tori Johnson, fairgoer.

One hundred and ten feet in the air.

"Super fun and super exciting," said Anna Mitchell, fairgoer.

All of the 19 rides are new to the Benton County Fair and Rodeo this year, but the "Vertigo" is really unique.

"This is only the third time it's been used, it's a brand-new ride," said Rhew.

And there's more in store for fairgoers than just the big rides.

"That over there is for the smaller kids so that they go can have fun, too, before they progress onto the bigger rides," said Rhew.

There's fun for all ages.

And of course, don't forget the carnival games.

"Being here is just a joy because there's so many games and stuff, great prizes, too," said Harrison Kalmar, fairgoer.

And to add to the whole new feel of the fair, there are about 150 more animals this year that were brought up from Lane County 4-H.

"A lot more in the sheep area, and llamas, horses, just about everything has increased," said Lonny Wunder, fair manager.

Also new, and to help house all of those extra animals, a solar-powered livestock pavilion.

And to keep the old traditions running, there's plenty of various activities and shows.

"The logging competition's one thing.  Lots of fun, lots of entertainment," said Wunder.

This year's theme is "We've Got a Good Thing Growing."

The fair and rodeo runs through Saturday, with an entertainment lineup featuring Emily Osment, Aaron Tippin, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Johnny Limbo and The Lugnuts.

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