While 4-H and FFA youths take center stage during the Morrow County Fair — much more is cooking.
With a theme of “We’re Having Bushels of Fun,” the event kicked off Wednesday and runs through Sunday at the fairgrounds, 74473 Highway 74, Heppner. Daily admission is $4 for ages 8 and up ($10 season pass) and free for ages 7 and under.
Fair secretary Ann Jones said Ray DeLoe of Heppner, a new fair board member, suggested having a chili cook-off. To show off culinary skills, participants must register Friday at 9 a.m. and be ready to begin cooking at 11 a.m. Sampling and judging will take place at 3 p.m. First through third place winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m.
Other new faces on the fair board include Jeromy Wilson of Heppner and Buck Elliott of Boardman. They join Pat Tolar of Irrigon, Cody High of Heppner, Rex Nielson and Casey Zellars, both of Boardman. Jones said having representatives from different communities helps with planning a fair that appeals to the entire county.
In addition to bounce houses and face painting, the Kids Fun Zone will feature something new. People can play their favorite arcade games. Daily wristbands are $10 or $30 for the whole week.
Back for a second year is the greased pig contest (Friday, 6 p.m.). Rather than taking home the bacon, the winner will receive a $50 cash prize.
“It was a lot of fun for the kids and the people watching,” Jones said.
Another popular activity offers kids a chance to pedal away with prizes. The RDO Equipment Pedal Power Tractor Pull (Wednesday, 5 p.m.) is open to kids up to age 10.
Wednesday evening (7-10 p.m.) features the Paradise Rose Chuckwagon Dinner. A meal with tri-tip or chicken costs $15 for ages 14 and older or $7.50 for the younger crowd. Entertainment features Trevor Tagle, who performs country and southern rock.
Thursday night’s (6-10 p.m.) Murray’s Beer & Wine Tasting includes live music with Joe Lindsay & Friends and Nate Botsford. Wine tasting starter packs are $10, which include two drink tickets. The event, which encourages Hawaiian dress, includes hula hoop and limbo contests. The Heppner Chamber of Commerce will serve a chicken teriyaki dinner prepared by Alvin Liu. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 11 and under.
Oregon Trail Pro Rodeo performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. To watch kids attempt woolly rides on sheep, get there 30 minutes early for Mutton Busters. Rodeo tickets are $10 for ages 13 and up and $6 for ages 7-12. Everyone is invited to enjoy music after the rodeo in the Spur ‘Em Barn with Dan Burns 3D Productions.
Bring a hearty appetite for the track and cross country team fundraising breakfast (Sunday, 6 a.m.), followed by the Morrow County Rodeo at 1:15 p.m., which features Morrow County residents and alumni.