**UPDATED**April 22, 2021
LYNDEN — Among the town’s biggest public attractions, the August fair at least is promised to happen in 2021, after being called off due to COVID-19 last year.
And the Chamber of Commerce is trying hard to make the Farmers Day Parade roll on June 5 and the Northwest Berry Festival bounce back on July 16-17.
“The Northwest Washington Fair is on,” said CEO Chris Pickering in an announcement Monday. He said a guidance update given April 16 by Gov. Inslee’s office allows up to 9,000 guests at events around the state.
Although that number is well less than a standard day’s attendance at the fair, he hopes it can rise by mid-August, Pickering told media.
New health and safety steps implemented by the fair include:
- pursuit of a global biorisk certification for facility cleanliness — the Global Risk Advisory Council’s STAR rating.
- plans to move all food and beverage purchases to cashless.
“The health and safety of our guests is top priority,” said Pickering. “We’re doing everything possible to deliver Safe, Clean, Fun.”
The 2021 Northwest Washington Fair will run for the first time in a 10-day format Aug. 12-21. Full information can be found on the nwwafair.com website.
Then Monday evening, the Lynden City Council approved the Chamber of Commerce’s list of 2021 events, with the Farmers Day Parade and the Northwest Raspberry Festival highlighted as chamber-sponsored ones.
Chamber executive director Gary Vis followed up by saying that — by his reading of rules allowing 600 people per quarter mile — perhaps about 950 people could stand along the parade route. But the chamber has no authority to enforce state law either in city right-of-way or on private property.
Vis suggested the best approach may be to publicly advise people that social distancing and mask-wearing may not be altogether followed along the parade route, so those who are fearful of that stay away.
Vis said both he and Mayor Scott Korthuis continue to be in contact with the governor’s office to get clarity as to what can be allowed for a civic parade.
“We’re doing what we can to hold our events,” Vis said Monday.
However, on Tuesday Vis told the Tribune, “Unless something changes, we see no way to move forward. We’d be limited to 950 spectators for the parade, and we see no way to enforce that.”
A parade should be positive and rewarding for its participants and the community, and that’s not possible under current restrictions, he said.
Some 2021 events on the chamber’s “tentative” list, although not chamber-sponsored, did not happen in-person earlier this year. Those include a Lynden Craft and Antique Show and the Whatcom County Youth Fair.
The fair-organized International Plowing Match of draft horses is set for May 15 outdoors at Berthusen Park.
The 2021 fair will feature deeply discounted season passes. For $35, guests can get in and experience all ten days.
Because of the added days, the showing of livestock will be in a “split show” of five days each.
Announced headliners include ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, rapper Nelly and two all-day music festivals: Party in the Dirt (country) and Northwest Rock Fest. Additional evening grandstand entertainment is two nights each of the Demo Derby and the Lynden PRCA Rodeo, a Hispanic Rodeo and Concert, and a yet-to-be-named concert on Aug. 20.
“Friday is shaping up to be the biggest concert in the fair’s history,” said Pickering, with an announcement of exactly what expected to be made in May.
Also anticipated is the new Farming for Life Experience, a state-of-the-art agriculture exhibit housed in the year-old Farm Pavilion at the front entrance of the fairgrounds. “The generosity of our community has enabled us to move forward with the project and have a major portion of it complete by August,” Pickering said. “There’s still fundraising to be done to complete the vision by the end of 2021, (but) there will be plenty to explore come fair time.”
“We’ve been planning for almost two years to make this the best fair yet,” said Pickering.
The Northwest Washington Fair, in Lynden, Washington, is about to launch their biggest sale event ever, releasing tickets for three grandstand shows, gate admission, season passes, and unlimited ride carnival wristbands all at once.
Tickets will go on sale Monday for the following acts:
- Darci Lynne Farmer – Wednesday, August 18
- Nelly – Thursday, August 19
- Party in the Dirt, presented by Manna Insurance – Saturday, August 1
- Eli Young Band, Canaan Smith, Parmalee & Tenille Townes
Guests will also have the chance to secure a $35 season pass good for gate admission every day of the Fair.
“The 2021 Fair will have more to experience than anyone could accomplish in one day, and we want to see the community visit multiple days for one low price,” Pickering added. “Going from one free stage in 2019 to five free stages in 2021, adding an expansive free kids’ play area, and offering a diverse Bank of the Pacific Grandstand Entertainment Series all build to what will be the biggest and best Northwest Washington Fair yet.”
Pickering was quick to note that the Fair already has plans to offer all guests a safe experience. “In addition to reducing frequent touchpoints and exploring contactless payments, we are proud to be pursuing accreditation with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council to be recognized as a STAR facility. The accreditation process will ensure we are implementing the most up-to-date and effective cleaning and sanitization practices throughout the fairgrounds.”
The Northwest Washington Fair will take place August 12-21, 2021. Presale tickets are available online only at nwwafair.com; public on-sale tickets are available online or by phone at (360) 354-4111. The Fair Office will be closed to the public per the order of the governor. However, the best prices are available online.
For more information, you can go to our local guide.