2017 Fair celebrated old traditions, new arrivals, solar eclipse

The biggest event attraction in Idaho celebrated its 120th year from August 18th to 27th. The Western Idaho Fair drew in over 235,000 fairgoers in 2017.

Every year, the Fair is the social event of the summer, bringing together over 3,000 animals, 300 shows, 400 vendors, hundreds of competitive exhibitors, huge crowds, and a carnival over the course of 10 action-packed days and nights.

“I want to say thank you,” says Bob Batista, Fair and Expo Idaho director. “To all the people who came out to enjoy the Fair—and to all the exhibitors, vendors, sponsors, food concessionaires, entertainers, and Butler Carnival—you made this year’s event one for the ages.”

Celebrating Old Traditions

Since its start in 1897 as the Intermountain Fair, agriculture, crafts, and farming practices have been a central focus. This year saw the largest showing of goats in recent history. The price per pound for sheep, swine, and goats was up year-over-year for this year’s Junior Market Livestock Sale.

For the open class general exhibits, overall entries decreased by about 5 percent, but enthusiasm was high. Fairgoers marveled at hobby craft submissions like a giant model airplane hanging from the rafters and a 400-pound dog made of metal.

Welcoming New Arrivals

Meet the Animals introduced a new addition to the Fair when a cow, Pumpkin, had a calf. After the Fair ran an online contest to name him, he was christened Huckleberry or “Huck” for short.

The first annual Fair Food Showdown may have contributed to a 2.5 percent uptick in food and beverage sales this year. On the opening day of the Fair, a panel of taste-making judges awarded the titles of “Best Sugar Rush” to the Idaho Ice Cream Potato, “Best Fair Square Meal Deal” to the BBQ Parfait by Spud’s BBQ, and “Best on a Stick” to the Turkey Leg at Smokehouse Grill. The Idaho Ice Cream Potato was later crowned the “Biggest Crowd Pleaser” after a public vote.

The Fair also observed the 2017 solar eclipse with a once-in-a-lifetime event called the Total Eclipse of the Fair. On August 21, nearly 2,000 people watched this celestial event from the Grandstand and a few lucky raffle winners got the chance to view the eclipse from the top of the Giant Wheel.

Showcasing Free Entertainment

The fun array of free entertainment in 2017 included splashing and sprinting dogs, tarantulas and  toads in the Animals of Wizardry, hilarious hypnotists, and even a robotic roving dinosaur.

Also free with gate admission, this year’s concert line-up on the DISH Grandstand was a total hit, with two of the largest crowds in Fair history. Huey Lewis and the News attracted 12,200 attendees, and Trace Adkins played to a crowd of 12,800 people.

Looking Forward

The 2018 Western Idaho Fair is slated for August 17th to 26th. The Fair is produced by Expo Idaho, a self-funded entity of Ada County.

What if ordinary people doing everyday things suddenly stopped adulting, and acted the way they do at the Fair? It would be wild, wondrous, and totally inappropriate for any other place than the fairgrounds.

For this year’s Fair campaign, we showcase the undeniable kid-like spirit of the Fair by unleashing it in otherwise normal settings.

Like at a grocery store parking lot.

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Or on a front lawn.

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Even at a typical family dinner.

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Or in a conversation about dieting.


Hey guys, Save It for the Fair. Coming August 18th through 27th, it’s the social event of the summer where you can really go hog wild.

Available for download now for Android and iPhone


wif appThe Western Idaho Fair announced today the launch of the Western Idaho Fair app, the first in the Fair history. Fair visitors can now use their smartphones to purchase tickets, plan their visit, and navigate the fairgrounds.

The app offers users and Fair visitors a full schedule of events over the 10-day Fair period, a detailed interactive map of the grounds, powerful search capabilities, and a favorites feature to allow each user to generate a customized Fair calendar.

“This app is an exciting step forward towards allowing each visitor to make the most out of their Fair experience,” explains Bob Batista, Director of the Western Idaho Fair. “It’s an easy-to-use interface for planning your trip—so you won’t miss anything you really wanted to see, eat, or do.”

In addition to the schedule and map, the app provides a full list of food and beverage vendors and allows users to find their favorite foods with one tap. It also offers an information section that includes services at the Fair and provides for an easy way to contact the main Fair offices.

The app is available for download through the App store for iPhone users and through the Google Play store for Android. Those planning to attend the Fair can purchase discounted advance tickets now through August 17 at Albertsons locations throughout Idaho, through the app, and online at idahofair.com. Tickets will be available at the Fair ticket windows at Expo Idaho at the beginning of the Fair on August 18.


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