Following a year without the Jackson County Fair because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s back and better than ever.
“We’re going to have big crowds of people and a lot less staff than normal,” said Jackson County Expo Director, Helen Funk. She says pre-sale ticket numbers are up.
In 2019, pre-sales sold 900 wrist bands. This year, it’s over 3,000.
That’s a 300% increase.
However, with ticket sales up – the number of staff helping run the fair is down. There are usually more than 200 staff members between carnival rides, security, and more working the fair.
“It means lines might be a little longer, so we’re asking for a little patience and a little grace,” said Funk.
She says only 180 employees are working the grounds this year. Although the event has fewer employees, a lot is still going on.
There are multiple vendors, a petting zoo, livestock shows, and auctions, as well as multiple concerts, are happening.
“I can’t wait for us, I can’t wait for southern Oregon because it’s time, it’s time for us to get back together and love on one another as a community.”
The big events Wednesday night feature bull-riding at the Isola Arena and the 4-H and FFA swine auction at the Olsrud Arena.
Of course, there’s lots of fair rides and games, too.
Hyrum Allen, a food vendor, says he and his family have been selling funnel cakes at the Jackson County Fair for the last 3 decades.
“I’m ready for a big crowd, we’re excited,” he said.
Allen says being able to serve people in person is a big deal following the pandemic shutdown.
“Our industry got hit pretty hard over the whole COVID ordeal – where every fair, every festival was shut down… we had to make adjustments and do drive-throughs,” he said.
There is free parking at Gate 4 and there is a tractor shuttle available to take you straight to the fairgrounds.