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Bonneville County Fair starts Saturday, offers fun for the whole family

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IDAHO FALLS — It’s fair time in Bonneville County, and that means livestock shows, 4-H exhibits, concessions, games, and even a mechanical bull.

The Bonneville County Fair starts Saturday and runs through Aug. 6. at the Melaleuca Event Center, located at the Bonneville County Fairgrounds. The event promises to provide free, fun, family activities for the whole county to enjoy.

The fair has a long legacy in Bonneville County since the original fairground was first purchased in September 1949, almost 72 years ago. Despite some hiccups, including a much smaller version of the fair in 2020 due to the pandemic, the event still runs annually and is coming in stronger than ever in 2021.

This is the fair’s third year at the new events center, which began construction in 2018. The much larger area has allowed for a lot of new events, horse and livestock shows, 4-H exhibits, concessions and activities.

During the fair, all events are free except for concessions and a small charge for the mechanical bull.

2021 fair schedule

The fair is not only fun but is an important benefit to the youth, Bonneville County Commissioner Bryon Reed said.

“We put a lot of emphasis on our 4-H program because we see the benefit that comes to the youth that are able to participate,” Reed told EastIdahoNews.com. “We just believe that it really gives a lot of future leadership ability to that young person to be able to go through 4-H.”

The 4-H program comes through the University of Idaho extension office that partners with counties to allow students to participate in hands-on STEM learning. Students sign up and prepare for the fair months in advance, registering animals and then having them go through specific weigh-ins to make sure they make the weight requirements to be presented at the fair during the summer.

Besides raising livestock, students do a variety of other projects, such as sewing or photography, and that work is also showcased at the fair for families to come and see.

Cow sign

“It’s an opportunity to get out as a family, and to see all the animals that the youth have been working on,” Reed said. “So come out and have something to eat on our fairground, see all the exhibits, and mostly just enjoy an evening or an afternoon out with your family.”

Families can come at any day during the fair from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and walk through the livestock exhibits, eat food, and walk through all the buildings. It is recommended for the best experience, plan to come and watch some of the shows that are scheduled or come for the livestock auction at 6 p.m. on Aug. 6.

“The county really feels like there’s great importance to provide wholesome family activities to support and build youth,” Reed said. “This 4-H fair is going to accomplish that.”

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