Wenatchee Youth Circus a hit as a new act; Lynden Rodeo continues tonight
By Calvin Bratt
LYNDEN -— After a sold-out Monday evening Demolition Derby, the grandstand arena was transformed within 24 hours for rodeo, as the Northwest Washington Fair surges on in a week of warm weather.
Monday was a great opening day, said fair manager Jim Baron.
The fair no longer gives daily attendance numbers, but considers a six-day attendance topping 200,000 to be a success.
Now for the two evenings of Lynden PRCA Rodeo Tuesday and Wednesday, a master slate of 255 indicated potential participation in the seven events here. For traveling cowboys and cowgirls, it often comes down to deciding on a tight schedule as to exactly when they will be where.
The Bill Gaither Vocal Band appearance on Thursday was still not sold out as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the fair’s website. The grandstand seating just under 4,000 was sold out when the gospel music legend came to Lynden in 2009.
Saturday night’s visit of contemporary county favorite Josh Turner has been sold out for a while.
The Friday show of Canadian rock group Loverboy is for on a complimentary, first-come-first-served basis for regular seating. “People will line up for that. It will depend on when the first person decides,” a fair office person said.
The Demolition Derby on Monday rammed its way through four divisions of competition, to the delight of a full house. Then, as darkness settled in, the conversion to a rodeo arena began.
The days are predicted to be extra warm, into the 80s, the last half of the fair.
So what’s new or eye-catching at the 2016 edition of the Northwest Washington Fair? From a few hours spent there on opening day Monday, here are some leads:
• A new entry in the Northwest Washington Fair this year, the Wenatchee Youth Circus was playing to full crowds Monday in the central area near the water tank.
The youth circus, in its 64th season, features teens and younger ages doing tightrope, trapeze, juggling, tumbling and other challenging daredevil acts.
In Spartans on the Roman Ladders, performed also at the grand opening luncheon for invited guests, a team of nine exhibits strength, balance and coordination using only two ladders as their pivot point.
“Half shows” lasting about an hour are at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. daily the first five days of the fair and then a full show will cap Saturday, the last day of the fair.
At least two alums of the Wenatchee Youth Circus are now doing circus professionally, a red clown representative told the hosted lunch.
• Manfred the Talking Horse is gadding about the Lynden fair attracting stares and starting conversations. People just can’t quite figure out this low-rider on a goofy-looking “horse” and what makes them go.
It’s the ventriloquist show of Joe Stoddard, of Yakima, who has done plenty of stage music and comedy in his lifetime and now is more into cowboy mode. He’ll pull up his banjo and sing a tune as needed.
Manfred also was introduced at the opening luncheon, carrying on in a little back-and-forth with fair manager Jim Baron. Later, Manfred didn’t mind getting some soap bubbles shot in the face by some boys over-happy with their trigger fingers.
Baron said he tries to have a couple of walk-around acts each year.
• The manager reported from a little unofficial research on where the fair’s visitors may be coming from.
A survey of ticket buyers for the sold-out Saturday evening Josh Turner concert found that, of the nearly 4,000 seats available in the grandstand, about 8 percent will be filled by Canadians and about 14 percent will go to travelers up from Skagit, Snohomish and King counties, Baron said.
The fair figures, by rough estimate, that attendance is about 30 percent by folks from outside Whatcom County, Baron said.
Loni Rahm, director of Whatcom County BellinghamTourism, in brief comment at the luncheon, added that tourists infuse about $160 million into the county economy each year.