The Kenai Peninsula Fair is celebrating its 70th anniversary Aug. 13-15 at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik by “cruisin’ thru the memories.” The fair will be open noon to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets cost $5 for youth and seniors, $10 for adults, and a family pass costs $30. Guests and vendors are encouraged to dress up in their favorite fashion trends from the last 70 years to help celebrate the heritage of the Kenai Peninsula Fair.
Kenai Peninsula Fair Manager Lara McGinnis said after 18 months with no events, she is excited to see the festivities return.
“This year, we decided to go big and make it all happen,” McGinnis said. “… We want to make sure everyone has a good time.”
This year’s fair will feature carnival rides, games, vendors, live music, a car show, rodeo, pig racing, Alaska’s Got Talent competition and more. Entertainment acts such as Dan the Sword Swallower from America’s Got Talent, I Sing. You Dance!, Ak Wildest Magic, pig racing and the rodeo will be held every day.
Popular events, such as the car show and Alaska’s Got Talent, are scheduled for noon and 2 p.m. respectively on Sunday. A full schedule of events can be found at www.kenaipeninsulafair.com.
The annual exhibition contest, including entries for livestock, photography, flowers, quilting, Alaska Native art and many more, will be held all weekend. All entries must be turned in by 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, and every person entering the exhibition will receive $5 in fair bucks for each entry, up to $50 per person.
Additionally, the fair has partnered with Triumvirate Theatre to host music each day featuring the greatest hits of the last 70 years. The Kenai Peninsula Fair in return will donate to the theatre’s capital building fund after their facility burned down in 2020.
“We want to support them and encourage others to support them as well, so we’re bringing them in as our community outreach (program),” McGinnis said.
McGinnis also stressed the importance of the annual fair as a way to bring hope through a traditional and historical community event.
“Fairs came to take us out of the Great Depression. They came to remind our country that we were strong, and we were coming back, and we had everything to celebrate and not be sad,” McGinnis explained. “I think coming back from these crazy 18 months of COVID and even faced with the different challenges COVID is bringing us now, we are strong. We will come back. We are resilient, and we need to remember that.”
Because the fair grounds are predominantly outside and the vendors are spaced apart, McGinnis said that masks will be optional and social distancing is expected to happen naturally.
“The fair has always been careful. We have animals, so when you have animals, you have to have hand sanitizer; you have to have the distancing; you have to have the wash stations; and you’re constantly encouraging safe practices,” McGinnis explained. “So for us, not a lot of things needed to change. We’ve always been about keeping people safe and germ-aware.”
Guests who wear a red shirt on Friday for “RED Friday,” which means “remember everyone deployed,” will receive $1 in fair bucks to spend, and the fair will donate $1 to Alaska Healing Hearts. Senior Day will be Sunday.
For more information, visit www.kenaipeninsulafair.com/.
Reach Sarah Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.