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FUN FOR ALL, ALL FOR FUN: The Twin Falls County Fairgrounds come alive

FUN FOR ALL, ALL FOR FUN: The Twin Falls County Fairgrounds come alive

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When asked what carnival ride Zoey Watson liked best at the Twin Falls County Fair, the 3-year-old pointed to "that one and that one and that one."

Her parents, Melinah Chester and Kyle Watson, escorted Zoey through a maze of stuffed animals and food vendors while her week-old brother, Elijah, slept soundly in a shaded stroller. 

First day of the Twin Falls County Fair

Fair-goers enjoy carnival rides Wednesday at the Twin Falls County Fairgrounds in Filer.

Adults and children alike staggered out of green and orange spinning dragons and teenagers rode carousel horses while multitasking on their cellphones.

Squeals of laughter wafted through the air, accompanied by the smell of barbecued pork, chili burgers and onions.

First day of the Twin Falls County Fair

Keisha Capps, 17, pauses for a photo inside Donut Delights on Wednesday at the Twin Falls County Fair in Filer.

First day of the Twin Falls County Fair

Ryan Yager mans a carnival game Wednesday at the Twin Falls County Fair in Filer. After 23 years with the carnival, Yager came back home to Twin Falls for a job as a road-construction flagger. He happened to have a week off, so he called his old boss at the carnival and is happy to be back at his old job for a few days before starting to flag on a federal job.

The fair opened Wednesday with a respectable number of visitors, considering no event was scheduled in the grandstand.

About 3,500 people came through the gates on opening day, fair manager John Pitz said.

Normal attendance on the first day of the fair averages between 6,000 to 7,000 folks. But with no event in the grandstand that night, Pitz expected a 3,000-visitor drop in attendance. He hopes a fourth rodeo added to this year's lineup will make up the difference.

An extraordinary roster of rodeo cowboys signed on this year, he said. With many rodeos canceled this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rodeo contestants need additional points to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

"We have the top 20 guys in every event scheduled every night," Pitz said.

The Twin Falls Fair runs through Labor Day.

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