YAKIMA - Fair-goers who couldn't find seating to watch entertainers on the Oak Park Stage last year at the Central Washington State Fair in Yakima may have better luck this year.
"We'll be enlarging the seating area and adding as many seats as we can, and will be relocating the stage because last year the sun was directly in the eyes of the audience," said Greg Stewart, general manager of the fair, who was predicting that the 2006 fair this September will be a Wacky Yakky one.
The fair's Wacky Yakky theme was announced this week and Stewart promised the wackiness will be spread throughout the pristine fairgrounds to make the fair fun for families.
"There will be different types of wacky things at the fair, crazy-scratch-your-head fun entertainment things to support this theme," he said.
The headliners at the fair will be comedian Paul Rodriguez on Sept. 23, the Oak Ridge Boys on the following day, country singer Keith Anderson on the 26th, the rock band Collective Soul on Sept. 29 and the 70's pop band Kansas on Sept. 30.
The fair runs from Sept. 22 through Oct. 1.
At the grandstand, motor sports, rodeo and a demolition derby will be back and entertaining fairgoers throughout all 10 days of the fair.
On the opening Friday and Saturday of the fair, the Northern Spring Car Tour races will return for some wild racing on the clay dirt racing oval at the grandstand.
On Sunday, Sept. 24, the popular Jaripeo de Lujo (Hispanic Rodeo) will be the featured grandstand entertainment. Last year, it drew a standing room only crowd. This year's show will feature bull riding and music.
Local, regional and nationally ranked bull riders will go for points and prize money at the PRCA Bull-O-Rama on Thursday, Sept. 28. The all-event PRCA Rodeo will take over the grandstand arena on Sept. 29 and 30, featuring top pro cowboys and cowgirls from around the west.
On the final Sunday of the fair, car-crashing action in the Demolition Derby will start at 2 p.m.
A new feature at the fair this year will be Sea Lion Encounters, which will include two shows and two training sessions each day with a number of sea lions and their trainers.
"We are also revamping our walk-around talent and I think families will be pleasantly surprised and entertained," said Stewart.
He estimates the entertainment for the 2006 Central Washington State Fair will cost $400,000 and appeal to families.
As always, there will be foods, rides, exhibits, displays, animals and the other attractions that make Central Washington State Fair a drawing card.
All entertainment will be free, included in the price of the $10 ticket for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for children, with many discount days to further reduce the price of family fun, he said.
"And we do have a few reserved seats for $15 for those who want to be sure they have seating for the entertainment on the Oak Park Stage," he said.
Grandstand reserved seats cost $10 for the sprint cars and $5 for the PRCA events.
Tickets will go on sale June 3 at 10 a.m.
"The basic contents of the fair are the same, but the difference is in the packaging, the theme, the entertainment," said Stewart. "We will have new food items, new commercial displays. Our goal is to appeal to families, and we're a fair that tries to improve and change."