BLACKFOOT — Brett Young has a tattoo that runs up and down his left arm, saying “if it feels like home follow its path.”
A lot of people followed various paths to the Eastern Idaho State Fair Friday and Saturday, making it feel like a home away from home for a day, with fair officials calling Friday’s opening day attendance a record-breaker.
Young, a fast-rising star in the modern country music world, was a big reason for that Friday night. The covered grandstand seats were filled and the seats on the east end of the grandstand had quite a few people in them as well, and the arena in front of the stage was packed from end to end.
Young and his band played all his big hits from his debut album and his latest album “Ticket To L.A.,” and the audience ate it all up. There was enthusiasm coming from the stage and even more from the big crowd, which also greeted the warm-up band, the Australian duo Seaforth, warmly as well.
Between the two musical acts and the crowd, the grandstand area was rocking all night long, and Young knew how to involve the crowd from the stage.
Every part of the fairgrounds was busy during the opening day, and the warm-to-downright-hot weather helped bring in the people. It’s expected to get up to the mid-90s today, so staying hydrated will be a key to enjoying the fair on the third day. It’s expected to be windy Monday but still seeing temperatures in the low 90s. Some cloud cover late in the week will bring temperatures down then.
The big events for Saturday were the parade in the morning along Shilling off the grounds and the bull riding championships at night in the grandstand arena.
There were over 100 colorful entries in the parade, lasting close to two hours, with 2019 fair grand marshal LeRoy Reed presiding over the festivities.
Among the other events on Saturday were the Idaho State Arm Wrestling Championships, cake challenge events, and a variety of animal and poultry shows.
Things don’t slow down at the fair today. The grandstand events alone include the start of pari-mutuel horse racing and Indian relay races at noon, and the Western Tractor Pull Nationals going on at 7:30 p.m. along with all the other free stage attractions, activities in the West area, and the animal shows.
On Labor Day, it’s more horse racing and the Gem State Classic Pro Rodeo going on in the grandstand, kids’ pie eating contest and the People’s Choice best fair food finals at the Big Dog free stage, and animal shows in the barns.