By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Start your fall with family, food and fun at the Hilo Jaycees’ 62nd annual Hawaii County Fair.
The fair runs from Thursday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Hilo Civic fairgrounds. Fair hours are: 5:30-11 p.m. Thursday; 5:30 p.m.-midnight Friday; 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday; and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday.
Featured are the E.K. Fernandez midway of rides and games, ono food to delight every palate, a petting zoo and entertainment tent.
Admission is $5 dollars for ages 13 and up. Children 4 through 12 get in for $3, while seniors ages 60 and older with valid state or government ID will be admitted free. On Sunday, admission is free between 10-11 a.m. for those who bring two canned or non-perishable food items per adult or child.
Ride tickets are $1 each or $10 for a sheet of 10 tickets, and Saturday is wristband day, with a $25 wristband good for 10 rides.
“The wristband’s changed a little bit,” said Hilo Jaycees President Jedediah Kay. “It’s for Saturday only, but instead of a time limit, what E.K. has done is made the wristband so it’s worth 10 rides throughout the fair, and as long as it’s on Saturday, from opening to closing, they can use their wristbands for the rides. The wristband is $25, so if you ride 10 rides worth $6 each, you don’t have to pay $60, so it’s a deal. That way, they cut out the time limit, so the kids don’t have to hurry up and wait (in line for rides).”
Ride prices are between three and six tickets each.
“Those (prices) are set by E.K. Fernandez,” Kay said. “A lot of the kiddie rides are three coupons. The newer, more adult, more popular rides are six coupons.”
New this year are umbrella Jeeps and Quad Runners. For those looking for something a little more exciting, there’s the Fireball, Zipper, Pharaoh’s Fury and the 65-foot Century Wheel.
Entertainment will feature the Maltese Family Circus, who’ll do two shows on Thursday and Friday and three shows Saturday and Sunday in the auditorium. Their act includes acrobatics, an aerial bungee act, magic transformation, clown comedy and a contortionist dressed like Michael Jackson.
There will also be an entertainment tent with live music, including traditional Hawaiian musician Kehau Tamure of Na Palapalai and the Hot Rain Band, an Oahu reggae group Kay described as “awesome.” Other acts include Bruddah Waltah, Randy Lorenzo & Friends, Sudden Rush and the Kuahiwis.
On Saturday, Chef Ippy Aiona of Solimene’s Restaurant in Waimea, who gained national exposure on this year’s season of Food Network Star, will do a demo at noon called “Vinaigrette 101.”
“I’m gonna teach people a base and how to break it off and make a few different types of vinaigrettes — not just for salads, but a vinaigrette for sashimi, a vinaigrette for steak, a vinaigrette for vegetables and salads, and so on,” Aiona said Thursday.
Asked if he liked fair food, the 24-year-old Aiona, who’s in the process of opening two new restaurants in the Waikoloa resort area, replied: “I love fried Oreos and Twinkies.”
Kay said that Fernandez will serve up the deep-fried fair fare such as funnel cakes, while local vendors and community groups will dish out favorites such as Hawaiian plate, Mexican and Thai food and the ubiquitous burgers and hot dogs.
The Jaycees will also host a child car seat safety check for parents and grandparents on Sunday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
“Parents or grandparents who have keiki car seats in their vehicle can come in free of charge with their vehicles and their car seats, and we have volunteers — not just Jaycees but also other community groups — who have been trained by the state Department of Health,” Kay said. “We’ll help the parent or grandparent manipulate the (child) car seat safely and legally into the vehicle.” Entrance for car seat check will be on Manono Street.
Kay called the fair “one of our largest fundraisers,” and added that the money all goes back into the community through service projects during the following year.
“The Hilo Jaycees is a leadership organization,” he said. “We do projects like the Hawaii County Fair so that we can train our members in leadership roles, by coordinating with people and putting things into action. That’s how we produce better leaders in our community.”
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.