The “best week of summer” is about to roll around again — and it’ll be even more special this year because of a big anniversary.
The Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo, which runs Aug. 21-25 at the Benton County fairgrounds in Kennewick, is celebrating 70 years.
Look for signs, activities and other touches to mark the milestone.
Also look out for plenty of fun.
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This year, all the fair favorites will be back, from elephant ears and funnel cakes to rides, the rodeo and animals.
And some new features are planned, including a music festival.
The Grand Parade, which ushers in fair week, is 10 a.m. Saturday downtown. The grand marshal is Lampson International.
The popular Demolition Derby is later that night. Time trials start at 6:30 p.m. and racing starts at 7:30 p.m. Reserved seating is $15.
Here are fair details:
When, where and cost
Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 21-24 and 10 a.m. to midnight Aug. 25.
Tickets are $12 for adults if purchased before Aug. 21 and $15 if purchased after.
Tickets for kids age 6 to 12, seniors age 65 and older, and military service members are $5.
Children 5 and younger are admitted for free.
Season passes are $48 for adults and $20 for kids and seniors.
On Kids Day, which is Aug. 22, kids are admitted for $2.
Ben Franklin Transit once again is offering fair shuttles. Fair/bus combination tickets are $14 for adults and $7 for kids and seniors.
Fair tickets are available at bentonfranklinfair.com, the fair office, Kennewick Ranch & Home and at the gate.
Albertsons, Safeway and Yoke’s stores also have fair/bus combo tickets.
Davis Carnival hours are noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 21-24 and noon to midnight Aug. 25.
All-day carnival wristbands are $35.
How to get there
Parking at the fairgrounds is $10 each day or $40 for a season pass.
Ben Franklin Transit shuttles run from 9 a.m. to at least 11:30 p.m.
Pick-up/drop-off locations are: Knight Street Transit Center and Tulip Lane Park and Ride in Richland; TRAC and the 22nd Avenue Transit Center in Pasco; and Kamiakin High School and Lampson Stadium in Kennewick.
A special shuttle, leaving the fair at 10:30 p.m., will take passengers to West Richland, Benton City and Prosser. To get to the fair, those passengers should take their normal routes and get off at the Knight Street Transit Center, where they can catch a fair shuttle.
Details are at bft.org/fair.
Bus-only fares without fair admission are $1.50 per person or $4 for a family of five each way.
The popular evening concert lineup is packed, starting with Styx on Aug. 21.
Chaka Khan takes the stage on Aug. 22, followed by Randy Houser on Aug. 23 and Bret Michaels on Aug. 24.
The shows start at 7:30 p.m. General seating is free with fair admission and reserved seating is $25.
On Aug. 25, a “Tunes, Brews and Grub” festival is planned. It runs from 6 to 11 p.m. The bands Eclectic Approach and Night Argent will play, and an ’80s vs. ’90s video dance party deejay set is planned. The event is free with fair admission.
The Horse Heaven Round-Up starts at 7 p.m. each night.
General seating is free with fair admission. Reserved seating is $10.
Taste of the Fair and other highlights
Watch out for “parklets,” or spaces within the fair to relax with activities such as cornhole, ping-pong and the like.
During the popular Taste of the Fair, from 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 23, food vendors offer smaller $2 version of their signature fare.
A Bloody Mary competition is planned during the BBQ Cook-Off on Aug. 25.
The Painted Syrah is offering painting parties at 2 p.m. Aug. 21-24 in the fair’s wine garden. Cost is $10. To sign up, call 509-509-948-3552.
On Aug. 24, stick around after the rodeo for Bullfighters Only, a freestyle bullfighting event.
An arena dance will follow the rodeo on Aug. 25 and feature the local country rock band Stompin Ground.
A lot more is planned during fair week. For all the fair details, go to bentonfranklinfair.com.