Northwest Washington Fair
Can’t stop fallin’ into love
What: Northwest Washington Fair
When: 12 am Mon., Aug. 12 -17
Where: Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, Lynden
Cost: Gate admission: Free-$14, Grandstand shows: Varies
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
It is possible that when I was told Cheap Trick had been booked to play this year’s Northwest Washington Fair, I might’ve shouted “Get out!” at the top of my lungs directly into the face of the person who told me. It is also likely that I smacked said person while yelling at their face. Adding insult to injury, I proceeded to then openly disbelieve what I’d been told.
Based on that, it would seem that I owe an apology to Cabin Tavern owner and fellow Cheap Trick fan Christian Danielson, who was the mistreated and maligned messenger in this instance.
As it turns out, Christian was correct, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will be making their way to the Grandstand at the Lynden fairgrounds for a Sat., Aug. 17 concert that will serve as this year’s fair finale.
But there’s so much to see and do at the Northwest Washington Fair before Cheap Trick takes the stage and, as everyone well knows by now, I am way too excited for every single bit of it.
For the first time in many years, I am eschewing opening day—Mon., Aug. 12—at the fair, which also means I will miss the perennially popular Demo Derby. Whether you attend the 12:30pm afternoon iteration or the 7pm evening event, watching cars and trucks bash the living daylights out of each other—all in good, clean fun—is never a bad time. Worth noting: Tickets are still available for both derbies, which is unprecedented at this point. Don’t sleep on them, however, as the evening Demo Derby is nearly sold out. If you’re not sure that car carnage is your thing, listening to the banter of the longtime announcers is well worth the price of admission.
Since I’ll want to make a visit to the Fair prior to Cheap Trick—because one day is not enough to ride all of the rides, eat all of the fried snacks and admire the exotic plumage of the poultry—I’m giving serious thought to hitting up one of the two days of the Lynden PRCA Rodeo, which happens at 7pm Tues. and Wed., Aug. 13 and 14. PRCA is short for Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and that’s exactly who will be on hand wrestling steers, racing barrels, riding bulls and attempting to stay atop bucking broncos. The adrenaline rush I’ll get from my proximity to potential danger sounds like an excellent means by which to work up an appetite for the late-night elephant ear I’ll need for my ride home.
After that, the Grandstand will be taken over by the comedic stylings of Larry the Cable Guy on Thurs., Aug. 15, whose familiar brand of blue-collar comedy makes him a good fit for the fair. Although his Larry the Cable Guy persona is for entertainment purposes only, it is true that the comedian who is known offstage as Dan Whitney is from Nebraska, where was raised on a pig farm and still lives on 180 acres of land with his family. With three decades of entertainment experience to his credit, the constantly touring comedian definitely has a vast repertoire of jokes and his consistent popularity means he knows how to deliver a punch line. It’s safe to say that when he performs at the fair, he’ll Git-R-Done.
Times and tastes may change, but every iteration of the Northwest Washington Fair features at least one country artist on its Grandstand lineup, and 2019 is no different. Musicians from all eras of country music have appeared on the fair’s stage, and this year organizers settled on an old-school vibe when making their musical selection for their Fri., Aug. 16 performer. Mark Chesnutt, who cranked out 20 Top Ten hits—eight of which reached number one on the Billboard country charts—during the 1990s will woo the assembled audience with such songs as “Brother Jukebox,” “I’ll Think of Something,” “It Sure is Monday,” “It’s a Little Too Late,” and others. While he found fame during a more modern era, Chesnutt is one of country’s great traditionalists. Every country singer idolizes George Jones, but Chesnutt really sounds like a chip off that legendary block.
Finally, we’ve reached Cheap Trick. That one of my favorite bands is playing my hands-down favorite summer event seems like a thing that is too good to be true. But it is absolutely so that the rock band from Rockford, Illinois will be onstage in Lynden—and I will be there singing along and possibly crying and definitely having no chill whatsoever. I intend to begin my day with a full slate of rides, sussing out animals, stuffing my face with fair fare (Moo-Wich, I am coming for you) and maybe even finally springing for that old-timey photo before I head to the Grandstand to hear Cheap Trick blaze through such anthems as “I Want You to Want Me,” “Can’t Stop Fallin’ Into Love,” “The Flame,” and, of course, “Surrender.” After that, the only thing left for me will to be to fetch a funnel cake, find my ride home and start looking forward to next year’s Northwest Washington Fair.
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