COEUR d'ALENE - This year's highlights: More beer, but not everywhere.
Plus a post-rodeo shindig, and discounted tickets online.
On Monday, vendors were already arranging their wares and workers installing towering carnival rides on the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, in preparation for the 2011 North Idaho Fair and Rodeo. The fair officially opens Wednesday.
This year will offer the usual fleecy critters and deep fried experiments, said fair Manager Chris Holloway. But a few items will be tweaked.
As done last year, the fair will sell foamy adult beverages for $5. But this time around, consumption will only be allowed in specific - yet still comfortably public - areas.
These include the west park by the food court, a tabled refuge called The Clubhouse near the arena, and the grandstands.
This way folks can partake, Holloway said, without being separated from their families.
"There were those who really liked the concept, and those who didn't," Holloway said of fairgrounds drinking, adding that the beer sales are a big revenue generator. "So we've compromised. Now you can come, have a beer, sit down with families."
Discount tickets are still available online, she added. But this year, folks will have the option of printing tickets at home, instead of waiting for them to be mailed.
"There's a service fee (online), so in the long run, it will be comparable, just like any ticket purchase," Holloway acknowledged. "What they'll have is the convenience factor."
Folks can purchase both admission tickets and grandstand seats online at: www.northidahofair.com.
Fair administration has aimed to enhance major attractions, Holloway added, like including a country western dance after the rodeo.
The typical 200 vendors will be lined up, too, and folks can still take in the craft, food and gardening exhibits.
The fair usually draws 70,000 to 80,000, Holloway said.
"There's a lot of ownership in the fair, because people participate," she said. "It's just a huge community event."
The fair lasts Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are $9 for folks 13 and older; $8 for seniors 60 and older; $5 for children 6-12; and free for kids 5 and younger.
Reserved grandstand seating is $5.
Some items to remember
* Exhibits open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday
* Carnival open noon-midnight Wednesday-Saturday; noon-8 p.m. on Sunday
* PRCA Rodeo: 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 12:30 on Sunday
* Motocross: Qualifying heats at 4:30 on Wednesday and Thursday, races at 7 p.m.
* After-Rodeo Dance: 8:30-11 p.m. on Friday at The Clubhouse
* Second annual Wine Rodeo Competition and Tasting: 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday at The Clubhouse
* Draft horse pull and show: 2 p.m. Saturday at main arena
* Mutton Bustin: At east side of the North Midway, north of the main arena. Times listed on www.northidahofair.com.
More fair schedule available at www.northidahofair.com