Hot, summer days in the Rogue Valley lead to the sights, sounds and thrills of the Jackson County Fair.

Hot, summer days in the Rogue Valley lead to the sights, sounds and thrills of the Jackson County Fair.

Carnival rides and more types of fried food than you could ever imagine are mainstays at the fair, along with 4-H and Future Farmers of America livestock auctions, exhibits of traditional homemaking arts such as baking, canning, preserving, sewing and quilting and starlit nights featuring live music by big-name acts such as Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Curtis Salgado in the Lithia Amphitheater.

The Jackson County Fair kicks off Tuesday, July 19, and runs through Sunday, July 24, at the fairgrounds and exposition center in Central Point, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point. The fair is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it closes at 6 p.m.

New this year is a fashion and food exhibit in the Mace Building, where attendees can see the latest in clothing styles, jewelry and accessories for all ages, and taste wine, food and cheese in an air-conditioned wine bar.

Also new is the Northwest K-9 Dock Diving Challenge. Canines and their handlers will vie for points in the event, along with a chance to compete in a national championship hosted by the Oregon State Fair. Preliminaries are Tuesday through Friday; semifinals are Saturday; and championship rounds are Sunday. Visitors and their dogs also can give it a try all week at the Petsmart Diving Dock.

The fair's new Teen Zone near the Compton Arena hosts dances at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Medford rock band Blind Lion performs Thursday; The Gemineye Experience spins dance grooves Friday; and Beat 93.7 hosts the dancing on Saturday.

Climb aboard the amusement ride called the Nitro just before it soars high into the air, or ride the Ring of Fire, Haywire and The Viper. Ride all day for $23. Coupons for carnival wrist bands can be purchased in advance at Sherm's Food 4 Less on or before Monday, July 18. All-day wrist bands will cost $28 at the fair. Six-day passes will be available at noon Tuesday for $50 at the Expo Center office.

The big-name acts performing at Lithia Motors amphitheater carry a separate admission fee this year. Gold and Silver tickets guarantee assigned seating, while lawn seating will be open.

According to Fair Director Dave Koellermeier, many folks requested bigger headliners for the fair's shows, as well as reserved seating to avoid waiting in lines.

"By charging a small, additional entrance fee for the concerts, we are able to bring in some of the best acts and provide a reserved-seating option," Koellermeier said in a press release.

On Tuesday, Nickelodeon's boy band, Big Time Rush, will kick off the live music in the amphitheater. The television network premiered BTR in early 2010. It's now in its second season and has been renewed for a third. The band features Kendall Schmidt, Logan Henderson, James Maslow and Carlos Pena Jr.

Country music artist Clay Walker takes the stage Wednesday, and rockers Joan Jett and the Blackhearts perform Thursday. A country music festival is set for Friday, with recording artist Amy Clawson, along with the Emmons Sisters and Jason Johnston & Mike Boren.

Blues-harp aficionado Curtis Salgado headlines Saturday at the fair. The show's openers are David Pinsky and his Rhythm Kings and Broadway Phil and the Shouters. Two dollars of each ticket sold for this show will be donated to the Ashland Blues Society.

Fair admission is $11; $6 for ages 6 to 11 and 62 and older; free for ages 5 and younger. Tickets will be available at the gates. Advance admission and concert tickets are available at

Parking will be available in the large lot off Peninger Lane in front of the fair for $4, or catch a cool, air-conditioned ride to the fair on the shuttle bus for $1. The bus will pick up riders at Sherm's Food 4 Less on Biddle Road in Medford and Crater High School's stadium parking lot, off North Third Street in Central Point, and drop them at the fair's gate. The shuttle will run daily until midnight.

Parking will be free all day Saturday. Two fair admissions for the price of one will be available all day Sunday.

See or call 541-774-8270.