Perched on the north shore of its namesake lake, Coeur d'Alene is a traveler's oasis complete with stunning scenery, major events, and plenty of waterfront attractions. The city is a haven for outdoor lovers with 55 lakes and 29 golf courses within an hour drive of downtown. Whether you're stopping through on a road trip or looking for an extended excursion, Coeur d’Alene is for you.
The North Idaho State Fair has been a top annual gathering for residents since it began back in the early 1920’s, and will take place August 23-27, at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. The event is one of Idaho’s largest late summer events and organizers expect more than 80,000 in attendance. Attendees will find a variety of Grandstand events including a concert by Darryl Worley, Gem State Stampede PRCA Rodeo, Draft Horse Show & Pull, Demolition Derby, and more. Families will love Uncle Curley's Funtastic Kids Zone which features games, magic shows, and balloons, as well as a petting zoo with a variety of animals. The carnival will have traditional rides and games, and patrons can purchase carnival passes for the ultimate experience. Food lovers will find a wide selection to choose from, and a spectrum of local organizations and businesses will hold expositions about their products and causes. We got the opportunity to interview Brittany Morris, Sponsorship/Marketing Coordinator for the event, to learn more about this celebration of all things Idaho.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
BM: Kootenai County’s first fair events were held in 1922 and 1923, in Post Falls and Worley in an effort to showcase the projects of 4-H members. In the coming years, the fair saw steady growth and changed locations before finding a home in the heart of beautiful Coeur d'Alene.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
BM: The North Idaho State Fair saw record breaking attendance with a staggering 84,816 fairgoers in 2016.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
BM: As the host of many diverse attractions, a growing carnival, and the Gem State Stampede PRCA Rodeo, there aren't many that don't love this event!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
BM: The North Idaho State Fair is a spectacle to be seen. Talk about a community truly coming together for something they're passionate about! We have teams of volunteers coordinating a top-notch rodeo, serving VIP sponsors, pouring their sweat into assisting with the 4-H exhibits, and raising money for local cancer patients. The staff at the fairgrounds works on perfecting this event all year long.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
BM: While walking through the fairgrounds on any particular day of the fair, be sure to shop the local vendors, play in the Uncle Curley's Funtastic Kid Zone, check out the vintage agricultural equipment, and wander through the 4-H barns - these kids will gladly give you a lesson on animal care! Feed butterflies in the Butterfly Encounter exhibit, head over to the carnival, and if you get too hot, take a break in the new misting Cool Down Zone! Community contests can be found at the dance stage and always guarantee family-friendly fun! But whatever you do, don't miss the rodeo!
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
BM: Opening Day kicks off August 23rd with our Party in the Dirt. Darryl Worley and Charley Jenkins will rock the Findlay Arena with a patriotic, feel-good country music concert.
August 24-27 you'll find PRCA cowboys and cowgirls kickin' up dust at the Gem State Stampede. Also August 27th, we'll round out the arena events with a demolition derby.
As for stage attractions, you can find local talents on the Dance Floor stage every day of the fair. The Main Stage will feature local bands and Tyzen the Hypnotist. Don't forget about the wonderful shade covered Community Stage! That's where you'll find an inspiring sword swallower from America's Got Talent! Dan Meyer doesn't just swallow swords though; he is also a renowned TEDx speaker! rePercussion - a comedy drumming act will entertain there as well.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
BM: Th e options for dining are nearly endless at the North Idaho State Fair! From the traditional fair food to the sought after New York Strip on a stick, you will not leave hungry!
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
BM: The Shilo Inn and the Best Western Coeur d'Alene Inn are both excellent, family-friendly, partners of the fair. Ask for the Kootenai County Fairgrounds promotional rate.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
BM: The Fair is a five-day economic boost for North Idaho. Drawing crowds from the 10 northernmost counties in Idaho, eastern Washington, and Western Montana. Coeur d'Alene loves a good summer crowd, and our attendees seem to fit right in!
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
BM: Multiple groups raise money for their organizations at the fair including the Chicks ‘N Chaps group which raises money for the Fair Foundation and the Kootenai Health Foundation. Those proceeds stay right here in North Idaho and are distributed in the form of scholarships and cancer patient support. We also feature a local non-profit group daily at the main entrance. A few of this year's groups are Kootenai Humane Society, Idaho Drug-Free Youth, and Family Promise.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
BM: Come for a full day (or five) of non-stop fun and laughter. Slow down and enjoy a good ol' country/farm feel, but stay on your toes... with this year's theme "May the Fair be with You," you never know when you might need to grab a lightsaber and battle Darth Vader ! Sneak away to the margarita bar, or gather the family for the Wenatchee Youth Circus performance! If you're bringing a group of 20+, call the office about group seating at the rodeo (208) 765-4969.
For more information about the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo, please visit the event website.