Bountiful Bonner County

The Bonner County Fair set to run from Aug. 21 ’til the cows go home — or, Aug. 24

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

The 2019 Bonner County Fair theme — “Bounty of the County” — doesn’t only refer to the gigantic zucchini fairgoers are sure to see Wednesday, Aug. 21-Saturday, Aug. 24.

Young fairgoers cool off at the wash racks behind the cattle barn at the 2018 Bonner County Fair. Photo by Roseanne Decker.

“It means something different to everyone,” said Bonner County Fair Director Darcey Smith. “We’ve got our ski resort. We’ve got our lake. We’ve got our huckleberries. We have our loggers. It keeps going and going. We have a plethora that makes Bonner County bountiful.”

Smith said the Bonner County Fair is “one of the last small, free fairs out there.” While other fairs are seeing more commercialization and carnival-like atmospheres, Bonner County emphasizes the role local 4-H groups play in the four-day event.

“Being a 4-H fair, we hold tight to our heritage, our upbringing,” Smith said. “To what makes Bonner County special.”

While attending the fair and seeing all the exhibits is free, parking is $3 a day or $10 for the week. Local students volunteer at the entrance to collect that money, then are given 50 percent of the day’s profits to go toward their particular 4-H club. In years past, the other 50 percent went to the maintenance budget for the fair. Starting this year, Smith said, that other 50 percent will go toward the fair’s scholarship program. Ultimately, all parking fees go back into local schools.

Between the full livestock barns, static exhibits in the main building and the various food vendors, Smith said there will be plenty to do. She suggested fairgoers come prepared to stay awhile and enjoy the event in its entirety.

“We sit on 43 acres. We fill it. … Allow yourself time that you’re able to take part in our fun events during the day, and walk through the barns and see all the animals,” Smith said. “And of course, if you can, stay for the events we have at night.”

Live music and other events round out the evening, with Redhead Express playing country tunes at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22; the “Challenge of Champions” bull riding tour on Friday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m.; and a demolition derby on Saturday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. All events happen at the fairgrounds’ Outdoor Arena and require tickets. Presale tickets to all three events are available online at or in person at the Bonner County Fair Office, Columbia Bank in Ponderay and Sandpoint, Carter Country, North 40, Sandpoint Super Drug and Les Schwab.

Smith, whose office includes only four year-round employees, said the fair wouldn’t happen without the help of hundreds of volunteers.

“It takes a village, and we are so eternally grateful,” she said.

The 2019 Bonner County Fair officially opens at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Those with questions can visit or contact the fair office at 208-263-8414.

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