The Alaska State Fair, slated to open Thursday, is celebrating its 75th birthday this year. The 12-day event brings a panoply of playful fun that’s become a late-summer tradition back to the Mat-Su Valley.
Fair organizers are hoping to draw even larger crowds to the opening at the Palmer fairgrounds with “Two-Buck Thursday” from noon to 2 p.m., during which fairgoers will pay only $2 for admission. In addition, anyone who turns 75 in 2011 will get into this year’s fair free.
Several performing groups at the fair will be new to Palmer this year. Keep an eye out for the Fables family’s Fables of the West cowboy comedy act roaming the fairgrounds, as well as the Cirque Magnifique acrobatic and comedy troupe daily at Pioneer Plaza. Pirates for Hire will also be staging exhibition cutlass fighting, pistol shooting and breakaway-bottle tricks on the Grandstand Lawn.
This year’s event boasts a strong lineup of live concert acts -- although making it to some of them could be a challenge. The fair announced Wednesday that tickets have sold out for radio host Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” show Sunday, and that only general-admission tickets are still available for performers Craig Morgan, Gabriel Iglesias and Colbie Caillat.
On the food front, many well-known vendors are back this year ranging from Alaska Elephant Ears to Wild Bill’s Buffalo Burgers -- although Channel 2 reporters found everything from chocolate-covered bacon to donut burgers at last year’s fair.
If you go:
The Alaska State Fair is being held from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5 at Mile 40 of the Glenn Highway, in Palmer.
Admission at the gate will cost $9 for adults and $5 for youth or seniors from Monday through Thursday, or $11 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors from Friday through Sunday. Parking costs $5 per day for cars, truck or motorcycles or $15 per day for recreational vehicles.A variety of discounts for admission and parking are described on the fair’s website.