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Coos County Fair Oregon Free Admission for Day One and Daily Fun
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Running July 25 through 29, Oregon's Coos County Fair started their 2023 event with free admission for all. The fair, a major part of Coos County's summer, began in 1912, and it continues to be a focal point for the coastal community.

With a theme this year of “Blue Jeans and Summer Dreams,” the fair included nightly rodeos on Friday and Saturday followed by concerts. The rodeo offered new events this year, including bronc riding, wild cow milking and a pig scramble. Of course, popular events such as team roping, and bull riding were also a part of the entertainment mix. A concert, sans rodeo, took place on Thursday night.



Fair admission at the gate was $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for kids aged 6-17. A season fair pass, good for all days, was priced at $40; $15 for kids. Fair parking was $5 daily or $20 for all five days of the fair's run.

Along with the free admission opening day, there were several specials available for admission, with Wednesday serving as senior day, when attendees 60 and over were admitted half price; Kid's Day was Thursday, allowing kids aged 6-17 to be admitted for half price. Kids also received $2 off the cost of carnival ride bracelets. And on Friday, all military, both active duty and retired, were admitted to the fair at half price.

Exhibit halls featured a wide range of arts, crafts and agriculture, from livestock exhibits to floral and agricultural displays, culinary feats, needlework, crafts, and photography as well as paintings and drawings. 

One unique animal exhibit at the fair was the Birthing Barn, a large tent featuring animal babies or animal moms about to give birth during the fair. Sitting areas were provided for families or adults to observe and rest, and the pens were filled with chickens, bunnies, kittens, sheep, cows, and horses among other beings. A petting zoo area allowed kids to interact with the young animals.

Held in Myrtle Point, Oregon, the fair featured over 20 food booths this year, including legacy vendor Betty's Scones, which has been dishing out a popular family recipe since 1969. The four-decade food concession bases its scones on the owner's great grandmother's recipe. And of course, there were hot dogs, lemonade, cotton candy, slushies, caramel apples, gyros, deep fried cheesecake, and popcorn that were all part of the fair food fun. A new treat this year was available for early birds with breakfast options dished up at the Bridge Grange from 6 to 10 a.m.

In short, tradition is truly a main touchstone for the event, with 4H livestock exhibits among the most talked about and well-attended attractions at the lively fair, including cattle, swine, and poultry. Attendance annually averages about 28,000 attendees, according to Coos County fair board chairman Brad Burnette.

Rivaling the animal exhibits in popularity was this year's concert events priced between $25-$30, depending upon night. Concert ticket buyers received free fair admission tickets as well. Burnette cautioned repeatedly during the fair's run against scam ticket sellers who were selling tickets for “double and sometimes triple, we don't want anybody to get hurt,” he stressed. Especially with popular acts such as Coos County performer Lonestar, ticket scalping and fake tickets were endemic this year at many fairs in the west

Popular performers included national acts Lonestar, Billy Dean and Wade Hayes on Friday and Saturday respectively. On Thursday, Timberwolf roused crowds with their music. There were dog and equestrian show events, the Swingin' in the Rain big band sounds on a smaller stage, an animal scavenger hunt, and sheep showmanship performances, among other events -including Hula Hoopin'. A pie eating contest yielded many smiles and full bellies.

Along with the music and animals, the carnival was a big draw for the event. The midway purveyor was Ranier Amusements, headquartered in Portland, Ore. The towering Ferris Wheel, the Freak Out, Kamikaze, plus kiddie rides were all hits at the fair.Rides took between 10-12 tickets, 1 to 12 tickets was the range for the midway games. Each individual ticket was priced at .50, 120 tickets, which provided 20 free tickets in the package, sold for $50. Wristbands were priced at $40. Ranier Amusements provides carnival midways for some 30 events in the Pacific Northwest region, including the upcoming Oregon State Fair. Ranier is operated by the Hoss family.



Fair vendors also proved popular, with laser etching, Cutco Knives, Coos Health and Wellness centers, and Bussman's Mobile Butchering as part of the county-wide collection of crafts and industry displaying their wares. 

Competitions were lively, well-attended, and varied from salsa making to apple pie making, not to mention the previously mentioned popluar pig scramble, a jubilant contest in which kids competed to catch a pig. There were also competitive exhibitions of floral and land products, needlework, photography, and arts and crafts. A milk-drinking contest drew many participants and even more viewers and laughs.

There was no contest necessary to enjoy Purple Cow ice cream and milk shakes to cool down in the summer heat, with purchase proceeds from the iconic fair stand benefitting the Coos County 4-H. 

If Summer Dreams are made of local fair fun, animal exhibits, and popular country music hits, Coos County Fair made them all come true for 2023.
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