Some Cool Things to Do on a Hot Day at the Umatilla County Fair

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Juggler Jeremiah Johnson entertains fairgoers on Tuesday. Johnston performs several shows a day. (Photos by Michael Kane)

The Umatilla County Fair got under way on Tuesday with exhibits, rides, music, food – lots of food – and more.

Fairgoers braved the sizzling heat on Tuesday, checking out the sights at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center. Today promises to be another scorcher with temperatures expected to reach 100-plus degrees. But don’t let that keep you indoors as there is plenty to do to keep you entertained and cool.

Some fairgoers cool off inside the Event Center and play a game of Magic: The Gathering.

So, if you go, here’s just a small sample of what to expect and what to do at this year’s fair as you stroll around the grounds:

  • Make your own sand art: Feeling creative? For just $5 you can create a masterpiece of psychedelic color.
  • Chris Mabrey: Check out the act of comic hypnotist. Mabry performs several times a day and likes to have audience participation.
  • Rock wall climb: Test your skills for just $8 per climb, or two for $12.
  • Exotic animal exhibit: Take a few minutes to admire some beautiful animals that you won’t find anywhere near Hermiston, including several big cats.
  • Laser tag: Pit yourself against a friend and bring out your mortal combat skills for $5 per game.
  • Mechanical bull ride: For $10, you can see how long you last before hitting the ground.
  • Knocker ball: Climb inside a giant see-through ball and ride the waves for just $5 of fun.
  • Carnival: There’s plenty for everyone, whether you prefer the merry-go-round or something more nausea-inducing.
  • Live music: Jackson Michelson is the headliner tonight. For more information, visit the fair website.

If you’re seeking to cool off, there’s options at the fair for that, as well:

  • Event Center: Head inside to the air-conditioned center and check out the 4-H exhibits.
  • Dippin’ Dots: Who can resist those on a hot, sweaty afternoon?
  • Tents: Find a seat under a shady tent and rest up and cool down.
  • Cool drink: From snow cones to slushies to ice-cold lemonade, there’s plenty of choices to keep you hydrated at the fair.
  • Mist stations: Strategically located throughout the grounds, the stations offer a cool mist of water for relief from the heat.

The fair gates open each day at 9 a.m. and carnival rides get started at 2 p.m., and noon on Saturday.

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