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Reflecting on the 2023 Eastern Idaho State Fair

Published online: Sep 19, 2023 Events
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The 2023 Eastern Idaho State Fair has ended, and it's time to reflect on its success. This year, the fair broke four daily attendance records and two Grandstand events were sold out. Hundreds of thousands of people left the fair with happy faces. The fair would like to extend a special thank you to Grand Champion Sponsors, Bingham Healthcare and Teton Auto Group, for their continued support and to returning Grandstand sponsor, The Bank of Commerce.

The fair celebrated its 50th anniversary of the September Slam Demolition Derby and Walker Hayes performance, both of which were sold-out events. They also introduced a third night of the Gem State Classic Pro Rodeo, which was a great success. The Bank of Commerce Grandstand Arena was packed with tens of thousands of fans who came to enjoy Jim Gaffigan, the Western Truck and Tractor Pulls, Bull Riding Championships, and Incubus.

Unfortunately, the fair experienced a rainy opening weekend on Sunday and Monday, but crowds showed up in full force the rest of the week, making up for lower attendance days. In fact, the last three days of this year's event broke daily attendance records. The National Indian Relay Championships and Pari-Mutuel Racing were canceled on Monday due to unsafe track conditions, but the closing weekend had huge crowds. The Kick-Off Parade had the most extensive lineup of floats and entries ever, breaking another fun record.

For more than a century, the Fair has upheld its mission to provide wholesome, affordable, family-oriented entertainment and education in an agricultural environment within clean and safe surroundings. Agriculture has always been the backbone of the Eastern Idaho State Fair. Over the course of nine days, the Fair is home to more than 2,000 animals including dairy and beef cattle, light and draft horses, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits and pigeons. The Fair receives more than 6,000 entries from Idahoans young and old entering their hobbies and livestock in 26 competition categories. This includes Livestock, Flowers, Baking, Canning, Needlecraft, Antiques, Fine Arts, Hobbies & Craft, Photography, Native American, FFA, and 4-H. Thousands of dollars in premiums are paid out to ribbon winners. 

As always, Fair Food was the star of the show. New delicacies such as deep-fried watermelon from Pigs N Wings offered a new taste at the fair. Spicy Pork Paradise from La Casita Mexican Food, Crazy Corn Salad from Mexican Crazy Corn, and the Mad Mac from Blackhawk BBQ were the top winners for the Best New Entrees from the Annual Fair Food Contest. On the sweet side, It's Better At The Fair Cake from Creamy Creations, Strawberry Temptress from Sweet Temptations, and the Hula Barbie from Big E's Hawaiian Shave Ice all took top honors.

This year, the fair also recognized an incredible trio as the Grand Marshals of the annual celebration. Barry Adams, Gary Adams, and Amy Gough represented this year's event with pride. A new tradition started this year, as the fair will honor up to three people annually who have significantly contributed to the Fair and this cherished family, community, and hard work traditions. Lois Ethel Prouse Bates was selected for this inaugural recognition for her exceptional contributions to the Fair, including composing its historical record spanning 121 years.

The team looks forward to continuing the tradition next year, from August 30 to September 7, at the 2024 Eastern Idaho State Fair.


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