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Jackson County Fair expected to bring big crowds

The Jackson County Fair opened Wednesday and Expo officials say they are bracing for record-breaking crowds.

Expo Director Helen Funk says in 2019 around 900 unlimited ride bracelets were presold, but this year sales have tripled to just shy of 3,000.

“That tells us that people are ready to come back and have a good time,” she said.

Jackson County is the second Oregon county to host a fair this year with Marion County holding its last week.

Funk said she the Marion County fair director warned her of record crowds.

“He said ‘honestly, hold on to your hat — if you think you have enough water on the fairgrounds go ahead and buy that double again. You are going to absolutely have a knockout crowd,’ ” said Funk.

Funk said she’s excited about the turnout, but she is also nervous about staff being stretch thin.

These food vendors don’t have their teammates that they normally have,“ Funk said. ”The security teams — not as big as normal.”

Another big change to the fair this year are the free performances that are happening every night. Funk said she opted for more affordable performers this year so that more people could have fun and enjoy the nightly shows.

The fair will also feature 4-H member exhibitions, a petting zoo, street vendors, carnival rides and food vendors.

With Jackson County fully reopened and life returning to “normal,” Funk said she is looking forward to seeing people come out and socialize.

“It’s what we do and it’s what we are good at and I am so excited to see those memories come back,” she said.