Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, August 14 2012 at 6:18 PM, Updated: Tue, August 14 2012 at 7:44 PM
Today is the first day of the Josephine County fair and officials say they're keeping the community in mind. With the county's unemployment rate around 11.7% fairground officials said this year they want to make sure everyone has a chance to enjoy the fair.
"Our whole family comes, we love the fair," said Grants Pass resident Heidi Scroken.
This year, things are a little different at the fair.
"We had free admission today from 10-3 and it's packed," said Wes Brown, the Josephine County Fairgrounds Manager.
Free admission is a first for the Josephine County Fair.
Officials said they did it because business is usually slow on their opening days. But that's not the only reason.
"More importantly it also makes sure that all the community members, no matter their situation will always have access to our fair," said Fairground's Manager, Brown.
Fairgoers said they appreciated the free admission.
"It's pretty tight for everyone. So it's real nice for them to able to do that," said Louis Martin, a Grants Pass resident.
"I think it's good they give people some slack," added Ella Sachs as she stood in line waiting for a carnival ride.
Some fairgoers said they were glad to get a break at the door so they could spend a little more money inside.
"We took advantage of the free price. We can buy more things, eat more, go on more rides," said fairgoer Barb Brown.
From games, to rides, to super jumbo bags of cotton candy, the Josephine County Fair has all the fixins for fun.
"The rides are really fun and intense cause all you do is spin and flip," said a very excited Haylee Martin, a 9-year-old who just stepped off a carnival ride.
Fair officials said turnout for the first day could not have been any better.
Last year there were roughly 20,000 fewer fairgoers than usual. Fair officials said they hope for continued success through this Saturday.
There will be free admission again on Wednesday from 10am-3pm.
For more information visit the Josephine County Fairground's website by clicking here.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.