HEPPNER — The Morrow County Fair is throwing its gates wide open to all fair-goers.

With a theme of “Treasure Chest of Morrow County’s Best,” fair secretary Ann Jones is excited about the opportunity to offer free admission — thanks to the generous support of Lamb Weston, Caithness Shepherds Flat Wind Farm and the Boardman Fire Fighters Association.

“We hope to see a bigger turnout at the fair this year,” Jones said. “It gives people the opportunity to come down for lunch or dinner without having to pay admission.”

The Morrow County Fair runs Aug. 14-17 at the fairgrounds, 74473 Highway 74, Heppner. The hours are Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. In addition, the fair parade is Saturday at 10 a.m. in downtown Heppner.

In addition to shining a spotlight on 4-H and FFA youth projects, open class exhibits feature everything from photography, fruit and flowers to crafts, cooking and quilting.

Highlights during the week include ventriloquist Vikki Gasko (multiple times daily Wednesday-Friday); the RDO Equipment Pedal Power Tractor Pull (Wednesday, 5 p.m.); the Pee Wee My Favorite Outfit and 4-H Fashion Revue (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.), a chili cook-off (Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m.); OMSI activities and demonstrations (Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.); the buyer’s appreciation luncheon (Saturday, noon), followed by the FFA awards program at 1:15 p.m. and the youth livestock auction at 2 p.m.

Stage entertainment cranks up with music: Trevor Tagle (Wednesday, 7-10 p.m.); Perry Gerber Band (Thursday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Friday, 1-3 p.m.); and Dan Burns 3D Productions (Friday/Saturday after the rodeo) — people don’t have to attend the rodeo to enjoy the music afterward.

Also, special activities include the Paradise Rose Chuckwagon Dinner (Wednesday, 7-10 p.m.). A meal with tri-tip or chicken costs $15 for ages 14 and older or $8 for the younger crowd. Trevor Tagle will perform country and southern rock.

And Thursday evening (6-10:30 p.m.) is Murray’s Beer & Wine Tasting. It includes live music with local musician Joe Lindsay & Friends and former Wallowa County resident Brady Goss, a wizard on the keyboards. With a fiesta theme, the meal features Mexican cuisine. The cost is $12 for adults and $6 for kids 10 and under.

Fairgrounds food offerings include the 4-H Snack Shack, Curbside Cafe and Catering, food trucks featuring Filipino, Mexican and Polynesian cuisine, and Indian fry bread. Also, fair favorites, such as elephant ears, Dippin’ Dots and lemonade, will be available. And Breaking Grounds Coffee will offer a smorgasbord of caffeine-infused and caffeine-free drink options, including espresso, Jet Tea, Red Bull, frappes, Piper Tea and boba.

A pair of Oregon Trail Pro Rodeo performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. Mutton Busters kicks off both nights of rodeo action.

Rodeo tickets are $10 for ages 13 and up, $6 for ages 7-12 and free for ages 6 and under. Also, VIP seating is available. For ticket information, call 541-989-8351 or visit www.oregontrailprorodeo.com. Also, the Morrow County Jackpot Rodeo is Sunday, Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. Entries are accepted through Aug. 11.

For more information about the fair, including a full schedule, visit www.co.morrow.or.us/fair. For questions, contact 541-676-9474 or mcfair@co.morrow.or.us.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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