Round up the kids and gear up your appetite, it's time once again for the Kenai Peninsula State Fair.
For 53 years, it has been the place to go for a last summer hurrah before the kids head back to school. The three-day family event will begin Friday and run through Sunday.
This year's theme, the "Days of Swine and Roses," honors the last in a series of six posters that have had pigs as the main characters.
"We are going to have pig races this year, so it is kind of fitting," said fair manager Mary Clock. "People can purchase pig bucks and, if their pig wins, they will receive a plush stuffed animal as a prize."
The pig races will be held three times daily.
Not to leave out the humans, a River to River Run will be held Saturday. The six-mile run will cross Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River at low tide.
From silk purses to sows ears, it can all be experienced at the fair. With 25 exhibit departments, area residents can showcase what they have cooked, dreamed, sewn or raised.
It is not too late to enter your prized pigs, pies or paintings. Exhibits are being accepted from noon to 7 p.m. today at the fairgrounds. There is no entry fee. Besides bragging rights, first-, second- and third-place winners will receive money, and entrants will receive a ribbon.
Some of the scheduled daily activities include balloon art, arm wrestling, a clown show, treasure hunts and carnival rides, as well as the popular mechanical bull.
For a second year, the Imaginarium Science Discovery Center will give daily hands-on science presentations on "Rockin' Reptiles" and "Flights of Fancy."
There are several new events to encourage a wider range of community members to get involved.
"We are having a clam chowder cook-off on Sunday, and there are amateur and professional categories." Clock said. "Also, there will be a Backwoods Girl Competition. That is where women will compete by hauling water, stacking wood, fillet a fish and changing a tire."
Returning fair favorites include the third annual Fish Olympics, where contestants compete in fish filleting, the humpy hurl and casting; the fisherman's round-hauling competition, where participants stand in a skiff and haul in a weighted cork line; 4-H activities; the Junior Market Livestock Auction; and the family-style rodeo.
Those who want to take a break from the hustle and bustle can sit back and enjoy a live musical performance from one of more than 20 groups scheduled to appear.
"We have a many great performers scheduled, and on Friday the Flying Other Brothers will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. They have played for many famous bands, including Led Zeppelin," Clock said.
After the Flying Other Brothers perform, a fireworks display will be held at 10:30 p.m. at the Ninilchik School field.
For those who come to "pig out" on the food, 140 food vendors will offer a variety of tasty treats.
"We have even more vendors than last year," Clock said. "Everything you could think of Mexican, Italian, desserts, turkey legs and elephant ears."
Clock predicts there will be a good turnout this year.
"Weather is definitely a deciding factor of turnout, but I have been here six years and every other one has been sunny. It rained last year, so this year should be good weather."
The gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission prices for a single day admission are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for children 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and under. A three-day pass is $17 for adults, $12 for seniors or $10 for youth. For more information, call (907) 567-3670 or visit www. kpsfair.org.
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