Eastern Idaho State Fair
When financial hardships hit the fair in 1918, the fair had to discontinue. The fair then reopened in 1920. The state legislators passed a Fair District Bill in 1925. The fair started out as a district fair with livestock and entertainment. After a meeting against the Utah State Fair, the officials decided to change the name Eastern Idaho Fair to the Eastern Idaho State Fair.
The fair was shut down in July 1942, letting individuals force their attention to the World War II at the time. The buildings at the fair were used for a storage surplus in the time of war. On December 10, a fire destroyed the commercial buildings consuming potatoes and coal.
In 1942, the Eastern Idaho State Fair was home to some 500 Italian prisoners. The prisoners dug sugar beets and potatoes, during their stay in southeast Idaho. Operations have continued since 1944.
The Native Americans of Fort Hall have also impacted the Eastern Idaho State Fair in a large and popular way. The Indian Relay Race has been a popular event throughout the fair's history. The danger and intensity of the race brings fans to the grandstands where the fair is held each year.
One of the events to kick off the opening of the fair is the traditional parade held in Blackfoot. This parade starts at the south end of Shilling Avenue and makes its way to the north end. The parade includes many clubs and organizations of the community. Local high schools, police department, fire department, businesses, dance teams and many more participate in the line of the parade. Starting out the parade is an escort by the police department and fire department, honking their horns and sounding the sirens. With the local high schools, the cheerleading squads, student council, Junior Miss winners, dance team and some clubs even have their own floats. The people on these floats cheer, throw candy, anything to just get the crowd excited for the fair. Businesses around town are in the parade with music, candy, and brochures telling the community what their business has to offer the public. The dance teams not only advertise their team, but they also entertain the crowd by doing a dance while walking down the road at the same time. Once the parade is over, most people head off to the fair to get some food and see what the fair has to offer.
One of the reasons why many people like to go to the fair is because of the food. There are many different types of food that come to the fair. Some of these foods are Chinese, Mexican, American, and Indian food. Some of the most popular foods at the fair are the teriyaki bowls, tiger ears, scone nuggets, turkey legs, mammoth burgers, funnel cakes, curly fries, ice cream, and the Dutch oven cooking.
Depending on where a person is at in the fair will determine on what kind of event they will witness at the fair. If a person is inside the grandstands they can witness many events throughout the week. During the day on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of the fair, you can find the horse races in action. There are many heats of these races that go from noon until about 4 p.m.
After every few heats, the Indian relays come in action where most of the attention is drawn. The reason the Indian relays attract so much attention is the way it is put together. The Native tribes have three horses each they then take three laps around the track. However, in order to use every horse each tribe has to do a switch after taking one lap. The action is intense because the man on the horse does not wait until the horse is at a dead halt. The participants in the race actually jump off the horse while horse is slowing down and then run and jump on the next horse. Many times they do fail and get far behind the other teams. There are often when the horse they jump off of can’t slow down and just tramples the rider. The horse races bring a lot of attention to the fair because many people participate in the gambling going on during the race. If one chooses to bet on a race, they would pick in order from first to last who they think will win the race. One can also just only bet for two horses or just a winner. The horse races are a big attraction.
During the night, however, action is also taking place. Every night of the fair there is a different event going on. Some of these events include: motocross, bull riding, rodeo, tractor pulls, concerts, and the demolition derby. Each event brings in a lot of people. All events are fairly similar each year. The concerts, however, change every year with different genres and totally different performers.
At the fair, there are two other small stages where smaller events take place. These events are things such as: hypnotists, arm wrestling contests, Idaho Idol, local dance teams, singing, and also comedy shows. There are also things surrounding the stage like a petting zoo, camp trailers, and a reptile show.
There are many rides that come to the Eastern Idaho State Fair too. These rides vary from children rides to adult rides. Some of the favorites that always come to the fair are the Zipper, Fun Slide, House of Mirrors, and the trucks that go around and around on a track. If the fair board keeps with the same carnival company the rides will be similar than the year before. Even though new rides might not come, people are always buying tickets and wristbands to ride the rides and play the games.
At the fair, there are many different kinds of animals that include: dairy and beef cattle, different types and breeds of horses, sheep, pigs, goats, chicken, rabbits, and ostriches. The public is allowed to show case their livestock in the 4-h program.
There are many buildings on the fair grounds that are filled with many different things. The big buildings can range from agricultural information, advertising of hot tubs, trailers, fireplaces, siding for houses, and many any other things. In the smaller buildings may contain craft items. One building holds many blankets, handmade clothes, and other stitching people have done. Another, often visited building is the photography building. This has walls of photos taken by many different people. The pictures that are posted range from many different things such as: animals, nature, scenery, children, weddings, families, senior pictures, and many other things.
In 1925, the fair ran for four days. Today, the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot, Idaho lasts eight days. In 2009, the fair saw an attendance of over 240,000 people. The gates to the fairgrounds open on Labor Day weekend, first week in September, at 8 AM closing at 10 PM every day the fair is going.
- Eastern Idaho State Fair - official site
- Alexander, L . "Big Concerts and Small This Week."[dead link] September 5, 2007.
- Food.[dead link] Eastern Idaho Fair. IE Productions. 20 Feb 2008
- Staff.[dead link] Eastern Idaho State Fair. IE Productions. 20 Feb 2008
- Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds. Casino City. 20 March 2012.