A is for Auction: Countdown to the 2019 San Juan County Fair

It is August 13, only 1 day until Opening Day of the 2019 San Juan County Fair.  In our backwards alphabetical countdown, A is for Auction - The 4H Livestock Auction takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 17 in the 4H Arena. 


B is for the Butterfly Encounter. See the different stages of the life cycle of the butterfly by visiting the Butterfly Encounter Tent, under the Main Building awning (facing Argyle Avenue) Wednesday through Saturday.

C is for Chicken Races. The races take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 17 in the Main Arena. SIgn up will be posted in the barn. Only poultry entered in the Fair event (open or 4-H departments) can participate in this event. No exceptions.

“Jockeys” will position their chickens to run from a small, inner circle to a larger, outer circle. Three heats will be run, with the winners of each heat racing in a final race. All entrants receive a t-shirt and the finals winner receives a trophy.

It is August 10, only 4 days until Opening Day of the 2019 San Juan County Fair.  In our backwards alphabetical countdown, D is for Demos. There are a whole bunch of demonstrations taking place during the fair, including: 

At the ORCA Relief booth (under the awning on west side of the Main Building): 

Filmmaker, Peter Jay Brown, (Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist) will be demonstrating his new project N.O.W.--Neighborhood Orca Watch--a way for locals to upload cell phone footage online and help our SRKW neighbors avoid harassment.

At the AG Tent: 

Cooking Demos at 11:30 a.m. each day. Check the SCHEDULE for details. 

4H Demos at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Thursday, August 15 

In PADS Facility (mobile home on Fairgrounds by Dougherty Road entrance). 

Pad for Parkinsons Demonstrations  Dogs train on San Juan Island to sniff out Parkinson's disease.  PADs for Parkinson’s, the program for training dogs to detect Parkinson’s Disease, will hold daily live demonstrations, open to the public, during the San Juan County Fair. Demonstrations will be held from 10:30 am until 11:30 am, August 14-August 17.

Beginning at 10:30 am, the dogs will work in 15 minute intervals, so you will have up to four opportunities to observe any one session. The dogs will work at 10:30 am, 10:45 am, 11:00 am and 11:15 am

During a session, you will have the opportunity to watch four to seven dogs detect Parkinson’s Disease from a series of samples. Observation space is limited to 10 observers at a time, so plan to arrive in advance of the scheduled session for the best opportunity to observe the dogs in action. Read more on the Fair's website.

It is August 9, only 5 days until Opening Day of the 2019 San Juan County Fair.  In our backwards alphabetical countdown, E is for Entry Day. If you are planning on entering an exhibit in the Fair, remember to take it to the Fairgrounds between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 13 (the day before the Fair opens.) There are some exceptions- 4H has different deadlines -  so be sure to read the ONLINE PREMIUM BOOK. The open class exhibitor form is on page 63. If you need more information call the Fair office at 360.378.4310 or email info@sjcfair.org. For more information about 4H, call 360-370-7662 or email  sanjuan.4-h@wsu.edu

F is for Family Feud. This is one of the most popular events at the four-day Fair. Last year, the Town of Friday Harbor Team was triumphant. Fair Board member Kira Sable asks the teams what the most popular answers were to island-related questions. Other board members keep score and keep the audience entertained between rounds.

This year the competition takes place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The teams are Vics vs. Rocky Bay Café on Thursday; and Island Rec vs. Printonyx on Friday August 16 on the Community Stage.

The winners face off on Saturday, August 17 on the Main Stage.

Kira Sable and Keri Talbott in the 2017 Fair Feud

2016 Family Feud Competition

G is for Tribal Gallop. This Improvisational Tribal Style Group BellyDance and Drum Troupe is new to the islands. They will be performing at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 17 on the Main Stage.  This family friendly, follow-the-leader dance format dancing includes some of the ancient moves from the Silk Trail to modern moves created by famous dancers of many styles. Read more on the FAIR's WEBSITE

It is August 6, only 8 days until Opening Day of the 2019 San Juan County Fair.  In our backwards alphabetical countdown, H is for Horse Events. Be sure to go to the Main Arena to watch the Horse Games at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday  - August 14-16. In addition there are four full days of horse events. Check out the SCHEDULE HERE.  And while, we're on H be sure to check out the numerous 4H activities. There's a separate schedule for that.

I is for Island Writers. Competitors in this category had to have their entries in by July 19. Take a break and spend some time in the Historical Cabin reading the prose, poetry, and writing for children. Read more about the rules on page 35 in the ONLINE PREMIUM BOOK.

J is for Junior Arts and Crafts. Remember every youth - ages 5 to 16 - who enters an item in the Fair gets free admission. (Under age 5 are free regardless). The entries are exhibited in the Jim Crook Building.

Age Categories: 1 - 5 years and 6 - 15 years

Flat Art 

Lot I: Paintings (Acrylic, Watercolor, Tempera & Oils)

 Lot II: Drawings & Sketches

Lot III: Prints and Stamps (Hand cut stamps and anything made by stamping color onto some other form of materials)

Lot IV: Digital Art (anything made with a computer program)

Lot V: Photography

3-D Art 

Lot I: Collage or Books

Lot II: Sculptures (wood, Paper mache, metal, other)

Lot III: Mosaics, Clay and Ceramics

Lot IV: Nature Crafts or Recycled Art

Lot V: Legos, Kid K’nex, Erector sets

Lot VI: Dolls and Puppets

Lot VII: Musical Instruments

Lot VIII: Mobiles and Wind Chimes

Lot IX: Textile and Fiber Arts

Lot X: Jewelry

Lot XII: Candles

Lot XIII: Collections (presented in an artful display)

Lot XIV: Group Art (anything made by two or more people)

 Check out page 36 in the ONLINE PREMIUM BOOK for all the rules. Remember the day before the Fair, Tuesday, August 13 is Entry Day. 

K is for Kids, (the goat kind). Be sure to check out the Animal Barns to see the 4-H members' entries in the Fair and also the entries from islanders. Rumor has it there will be piglets. 

L is for Loom. Have you ever watched the Sheep to Shawl competition/demonstration? In the years when there are two or more teams, it is a competition to see who can finish making a shawl first after starting with fleece. The fleece is spun into yarn, the yarn is woven on a loom, and then removed, finished (loose ends, etc.) and measured to see if it meets the specifications. A lucky raffle winner gets to take the beautiful creation home. 

Weaver at work in a previous fair.

Judges checking the work.

M is for Music. Booked to perform at the Fair, which runs for four days beginning August 14, are:

Spike and the Impalers

Buckets the Drummer


Micaiah Sawyer & Robin Alice

The Tide Rippers

Desolation Sound

Duke and Mojo Nation

Pilots in Training

Paul Kollet

The Chameleons

Pony Boy All Stars

Kirk Fuhrmeister and Friends


N is for Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks. Check out the Fiber Arts Courtyard (SCHEDULE) where opportunities for Drop In Drop-in Knitting, Crochet, Spinning, and more are happening.

And don't miss the Large Crochet Art Project. Participate in creating a large public art piece using rope and twine.

O is for Orchids. The Flower exhibit is one of the most beautiful at the Fair. Islanders with green thumbs are excited to show what they've grown in their flower gardens. New this year in the succulent class will be Easter cacti. Read all the rules on page 21 of the online Premium Book.

 P is for the PTO Pie Booth. The PTO raises funds for Friday Harbor Elementary School by selling slices of pie at the San Juan County Fair. They need 80 pies each day, so are actively seeking more volunteers to bake non-dairy pie or two and donate them to the Fair Booth. If you need pie tins, please contact the organizers at fhespto@gmail.com. You can sign up online.

Q is for Quilts. Fair goers can count on seeing a beautiful, colorful display of quilts stitched by talented islanders in the Textile Arts exhibits in the Fiber Arts Building. Be sure to wander all the way through the building and view the incredible needlework projects -  knit, crocheted, and woven. If you are interested in entering an exhibit, the Fiber Arts instructions are on page 17 of the online Premium Book. Textile Arts information is on page 43. 

Exhibits from the 2017 Fair

R is for the 8.8K Loop Run on the last day of the Fair, Saturday, August 17. The 42nd Annual Race is organized by Island Rec with Xtreme Fitness as this year's Premier Sponsor.

The race starts at 9 am on Spring Street in Friday Harbor, goes through town on Warbass to Turn Point, to Pear Point to Argyle and ends at the County Fair. This is a  fun run/walk for all ages. COURSE MAP

Registration fee includes entrance to the Fair for the day, a t-shirt, and a finisher medal. Awards ceremony at 11 am following the race with ribbons awarded for first three places in the five-year age categories.

Race proceeds benefit children’s scholarship funds at Island Rec.

Day Before Race,  Friday, August 16:

Pick up your Race # and t-shirt at the Island Rec office between 11 am to 5 pm

Day of Race,  Saturday, August 17:

Pick up your Race #  from 8 to 8:45 am at Wells Fargo Bank located at the roundabout on Spring Street.

Day-of registrations will also be accepted.

Register Online

Race starts at 9 am

Fees: (Fees increase after July 31. Additional $5 thereafter.)

12 and under $20. 

Ages 13+ $25

View SLIDESHOW of the 2018 Island Loop Run and the results here.


S is for Scarecrow Contest. All Scarecrows must be: 

Free-standing/Anchored (Exhibitors are required to provide own anchor such as stakes, rods, pins, etc)

Weather hearty (Consider rain and wind—all scarecrows will be displayed outside)

Suitable for viewing by all members of the community.

Created since the last Fair.

Not more than four-feet wide

Limbs, accessories, etc. must be securely fastened.

Scarecrows from the 2017 Fair.

Entries are limited to one per household. No animatronic/electric parts allowed.

Judging will be People's Choice so be sure to get a ballot at one of the kiosks. The scarecrows will be judged in the following categories. 

Class I: Best scarecrow made of RECYCLED materials

Class II: Best TRADITIONAL scarecrow

Class III: Best scarecrow reflecting the FAIR THEME “A Wheel in Time: Cultivating Roots”


Read all of the information about the Scarecrow Contest on page 41 of the online Premium Guide

T is for Trashion Fashion. The incredibly popular Trashion Fashion show is set for the last day of the Fair, Saturday August 17.  Organizers encourage participants to sign up now (Entry form is on page 50 of the online Premium Book) and spend the summer creating your outfit.  Anything goes, as long as its trash/recycled items. Consider following the theme “A Wheel in Time: Cultivating Roots”.

A mandatory rehearsal (not in costume) takes place Monday, August 12 by the Main Stage area, yes that’s before the Fair starts.  View a SLIDESHOW from the 2017 show to get inspired. 

U is for Unusual Creations at Trash to Treasure. Exhibits in this category must be made out of mostly recycled material. The complete rules can be read on page 45 of the online PREMIUM BOOK

They are judged based on the following criteria:

  • Creative or artistic use of recycled materials
  • Funny and/or playful
  • Something old given a new or different use - functional
  • Fabric up-cycling

There are two lots in each class. a. Function or b. Whimsy

Class I: Masks

Class II: Like a Human (ex: Robots, other humanoid figures)

Class III: Wearable clothing and accessories

Class IV: Musical Instruments

Class V: Flower Power

Class VI: Fair Theme “A Wheel in Time: Cultivating Roots”

Class VII: Natural Material Creations

Class VIII: Seashore trashy treasure



V is for vegetables in our backwards countdown. Did you grow amazing beans, rutabagas or any of the other numerous vegetables that fit in the categories shown on page 45 of the online Premium Book. Do you know about the  Family Garden category and the Vegetable Critters category.

Here are the rules taken page 49 of the online Premium Book.

FAMILY GARDEN:  What does your garden grow? Exhibits are judged on the quality, numbers of varieties included, and attractiveness of the display.  Your display should not include more than 10% fruit or 10% flowers. Please bring a tray or cardboard to hold your exhibit, maximum size of 2’ x 2’.

VEGETABLE CRITTERS: Fruits and fibers are allowed, up to 10% of the total creation. Entries are judged on creativity and workmanship. If your critter has a name or a story, please include an index card with the information. Have fun! Entries must be made solely by the child/ young adult. Lots: a) Age: 6 years and under b) Age: 7- to 14 years-old

W is for Wren and Della. Enjoy Juggling Circus Comedy by Wren and Della at the San Juan County Fair. The two have literally been juggling together since the day they met while on tour with a vaudeville show. Now, nine years later, that partnership has formed into a performance style that is entertaining, genuine, and fun. Based out of Bellingham, they've entertained across the Northwest at shows, parties, corporate events, festivals, and more. In their workshops, they share their love of circus and the skills it takes to master it.

Della Moustachella (www.dellamoustachella.com) has a successful solo career that has landed her on stage at Teatro Zinanni, Moisture Festival, Oregon Country Fair, and much much more. Her huge diversity of professional physical theater and stage clown training combined with her positive and good nature result in her unique style - sweet, satirical, and above all hilarious.

Wren Schultz comes at juggling and circus from a more technical and analytical angle. The mathematical patterns and possibilities of the various props have served as his inspiration to develop acts that both technically delight and make audiences roar with laughter.

On stage, Wren and Della bring their respective passions together in a wonderful mix that always leaves the audience smiling. And with a wide range of material, they can bring their genuine style of entertainment to almost any event or situation. 

Watch a video of the two on Youtube. 

X is for the extra effort Washington State Ferries is making this year. 

According to Washington State Ferries Communications Director Hadley Rodero, they are working with the Fair staff to avoid a repeat of problems with transporting livestock home from the Fair. Some folks and their animals were stranded when the inter island ferry was overloaded. There are no reservations for inter island service. Rodero said, the Fair staff is asking the people when they plan to return home - Saturday or Sunday. The improved communication ahead of the Fair will give WSF time to make arrangements in order to better meet the needs. 

Call the Fair Office at 360.378.4310 for more information. 

Y is for Youth. Youth ages 5 to 16 are admitted free to the fair if they are an exhibitor. Just choose one of the many categories, ranging from Junior Arts & Crafts to baking to photography to Trash and Treasure, and be sure to submit your entry on Tuesday, August 13, the day before the Fair opens.  Read the rules and regulations in the online Premium Book.

Please note there are special rules for animal entries and an earlier deadline of August 1. Information is in the PREMIUM BOOK.

Adults can purchase a four-day pass for $15 (a savings of $10) if they submit an entry.

Z is for the Zucchini 500. Crowds gather at the Skate Park at 5 p.m. daily to watch the action at the Zucchini 500. Contestants line their racers up on the ramps and hope for the best. There are two types of racers, the stock racers include an intact whole zucchini in their design. The freestyle racers must have at least a bit of zucchini in theirs. The other big rule is the racer must fit on the track. The contestants can check their racers in earlier in the day at the Zucchini booth and pick them up just before race time. You can drop your racer off on the first day of the Fair and come back and race every day if you'd like. No need to lug them back home each night. 

Photos by Matt Pranger from the 2018 San Juan County Fair

A zucchini racer is airborne as it zips over the Ramp of Death.

By Saturday, some of the racers look a bit worse for wear. And by the end of Saturday's competition some are utterly destroyed as they participate in the "Ramp of Death". You kinda have to be there. 

Check out the slideshow from last year here. and you'll see age is not a factor when it comes to the Zucchini 500.

For more information about the fair visit the fair's website and the online premium book.


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

back to top