HERMISTON -- Top-notch musical performances, a variety of other entertainment and a professional rodeo are in store for the Umatilla County Fair.
A lot of fair buzz has been concentrated on the Aug. 9 performance of American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler.
The 500 reserved seating tickets for the show were sold out on July 29. But fair attendees still can see the country crooner's show for free with general admission.
Pickler, who was in the final five of American Idol's fifth season, has made a name for herself with several chart-climbing singles.
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Among her best known works are Red High Heels, one of the most played songs of 2006-07, I Wonder, her second top 15 hit, and Things That Never Cross A Man's Mind, her most recent song to make the top 20.
Other evening concerts will include country star Clay Walker on Aug. 5, Mexican six-piece band Grupo Antifaz on Aug. 6, comedy duo William & Ree on Aug. 7 and American heavy metal band Blue Oyster Cult on Aug. 8.
All shows, except Grupo Antifaz, start at 9 p.m. on the Main Stage. Grupo Antifaz will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Reserved seating costs $10 and can be purchased at the Umatilla County Fair office, 515 W. Orchard Ave., or by calling 541-567-6121. Shows with reserved seating also offer general admission free with paid fair admission.
The Aug. 6 performance of Grupo Antifaz will cost only general fair admission.
There's no need, however, to wait until Aug. 5 to attend the fair. Plenty of fair-related events start beforehand, including the Umatilla County Fair Parade, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 2 on Highland Avenue near the Hermiston High practice football field.
Parade attendees are encouraged to bring teddy bears and donate them to the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association, whose members will collect the bears while riding in the parade. The group gives the gently used teddys to children in crisis.
A wide variety of entertainment also will be available throughout the fairgrounds this year. Among them are The Walk on the Wild Side exotic zoo, the K9 Kings dog acrobatic troupe, and the Let's Pretend children's creative circus. Also, roaming performances will be given by Penelope the Clown and Atlas Robots, radio-controlled robots that interact with fairgoers.
Davis Carnival also will return this year. Wristbands cost $20 now, but will increase to $25 on Aug. 4. Call 541-567-6121 to purchase carnival bands.
Another traditional draw is the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, which runs Aug. 6-9 with nightly competition beginning at 7:45 p.m.
Rodeo board member Jon Gill said this year's rodeo will feature "the best riders in the country" and five-time PRCA Comedy Act Of The Year Troy Lerwill during intermissions. Each night's rodeo will start with mutton bustin', a children's lamb-riding competition, at 7:25 p.m.
When Aug. 5-9. Gates open at 9 a.m. Exhibit buildings close at 10 p.m. Grounds close after the final show of the evening.
Where Umatilla County Fairgrounds, 515 W. Orchard Ave., Hermiston.
Fair admission: $7 adults, $5 seniors, $4 kids.
Farm-City Pro Rodeo: 7:45 p.m. Aug. 6-9.
Rodeo admission: $12 general admission, $15 reserved Aug. 6-7; $15 general, $17 reserved Aug. 8-9. Rodeo admission includes fair admission.
Fair info: http://umatillacounty.net/fair.htm
Rodeo info: Call 541-564-8500 or go to www.farmcityprorodeo.com
* Franny White: 582-1542; email@example.com