Pre-parade party

Dallin Puzey is the featured entertainer during the Umatilla County Fair Parade Kick-off event Saturday from 4-6 p.m. on Hermiston’s festival street.

The Hermiston Downtown District invites people to the join the fun while waiting for the Umatilla County Fair Parade to get rolling

The Umatilla County Fair Parade Kick-off event is Saturday from 4-6 p.m. on Hermiston’s festival street. It’s located in front of Hermiston City Hall, 180 N.E. Second St.

The pre-parade function features food vendors and live music by Dallin Puzey. Brandi Howard, Hermiston Downtown District vice president, called Puzey “a crowd favorite in our area.”

A Hermiston native, Puzey writes and performs his own music. In addition, he plays a variety of familiar folk, country, rock and pop songs.

Area residents, Howard said, often start staking out places to view the parade early in the day. The downtown area is always packed with people.

“Main Street is a very popular place to watch the parade,” Howard said. “We thought it was a great idea to preoccupy people and provide a little entertainment.”

The downtown district has been actively promoting the city’s festival street by sponsoring a number of events. This is the second year in a row that they have organized pre-parade activities. The 2018 event, Howard said, was very well-received.

“People loved it,” she said. “You bring your kids down, they get some food or treats, listen to some music and then enjoy the parade.”

In addition to monthly First Thursday events, other upcoming Hermiston Downtown District activities include the Annual Sidewalk Sale (Aug. 8), MelonFest (Aug. 17), Farm to Junk (Sept. 21) and Harvest Fest (Oct. 5). For more information, to volunteer or serve as a vendor, visit www.facebook.com/hermistondowntown or call 541-667-5026.

Free fair shuttle

Next week a free shuttle to and from the fair will help fairgoers and rodeo patrons avoid traffic and parking fees.

The shuttle runs from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Aug. 6-10 and will make continual loops between Hermiston city hall (180 N.E. Second St.) and the east gate of the fairgrounds at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center (1705 E. Airport Road).

In its first year the shuttle ran earlier in the day, but this year’s later schedule will allow people to stay for the rodeo and evening concerts and get back into town safely after a night of drinking at the Wildhorse main stage or Chute Eight.

Fair manager Angie McNalley said the shuttle is being sponsored by the city of Hermiston and run by Kayak Public Transit. While school buses from Midco have been used some years, she said this year’s buses will be air-conditioned and handicapped-accessible.

Gates open for the fair on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Presale rates for carnival tickets will be available until Aug. 5.

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