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Crash forces Yakima fair to replace singer Josh Turner. Here’s an event guide as gates open

The Central Washington State Fair started at noon Friday in Yakima and runs through Sept. 29. Here’s a guide:

Opening day

Admission is $1 with free parking from noon to 4 p.m. Friday only. For more information on other special days and discounts, go to www.fairfun.com.

Free shuttle service

Yakima Transit will again provide free shuttle bus service to the Central Washington State Fair throughout its 10-day run. Shuttle buses will run continuously from two locations at Gateway Center.

One is the park and ride location at Gateway Center. The other shuttle stop is between the two south entrances into Gateway Center on North Fair Avenue, according to a news release.

Shuttles will load passengers at the Yakima Transit bus stop located north of the former Office Max and take them directly to the fairgrounds.

Buses will begin operating a half-an-hour before the fair opens each day and stop a half-an-hour after it closes each night.

All regular Yakima Transit bus routes and schedules will operate normally throughout the fair with standard fares being charged. The No. 6 Fair Avenue/North Fourth Street route also serves the fairgrounds at least hourly from the Downtown Transit Center until 6:25 pm.

There will also be free shuttle service from Union Gap to the fair, with pick up at 107 W. Ahtanum Road.

On opening day, shuttles will run about every half hour from 10 a.m., and about every half hour starting at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 21-29.

Performer swap

Country singer-songwriter Phil Vassar will open the fair Friday night, replacing country singer Josh Turner after Turner’s road crew was involved in a tour bus crash.

A passenger bus carrying Turner’s tour crew crashed Wednesday night in California, killing one person and injuring seven. Turner and his band were not on the bus.

General admission to all fair concerts is free with fair admission, but there are also reserved-seat tickets. The Vassar tickets, like the Turner tickets, are $38 and $45. The fair will honor Turner tickets for Vassar. If Turner ticket-buyers would prefer a refund, they can get one through the fair box office until 1 p.m. Friday. To do so they can call 608-577-7540 or email mistyc@fairfun.com.

Mascots

Snickle and Fritz are the fair’s new mascots. Byron Schroeder of Yakima won the naming contest held through the fair’s social media accounts. His topped more than 300 different name combinations that were whittled down before the public voted.

Schroeder received two fair admission passes, good for all 10 days of the fair, two ride wrist bands and a parking pass.

The mascots have attended a few previous fairs without names. Stewart saw how children ran up to them instead of running away from them – mascots can be scary – and decided to invite them back and give them monikers. Two professional mascots wear the outfits, which are owned by someone else.

Sunfair parade

The Yakima Sunfair Parade will follow its familiar route of more than one-and-a-half miles through downtown Yakima on Saturday.

The parade is expected to include more than 500 participants and 125 vehicles as it makes its way down Yakima Avenue from 18th Avenue to Naches Avenue.

It will begin at 10 a.m. and is expected to last for about three hours.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, no parking will be allowed on Yakima Avenue between 18th Avenue and Naches Avenue, according to a news release.

The parade route will be closed to traffic, and side streets along the parade route will also be closed to through traffic while the parade is underway.

Parade entries will be staged along 16th Avenue between Summitview Avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard. That section of 16th Avenue will be closed to all traffic, as will side streets that intersect 16th Avenue, from 6 a.m. until parade entries make their way onto the parade route.

Because of the parade, Yakima Transit will not start bus service on any routes on Saturday until 12:45 p.m. Special shuttles to State Fair Park will run as scheduled while the parade is underway.

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