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New features coming to the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - The 71st annual Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo is almost ready to go! Fair officials are excited for the new offerings this year. They will not only help attendees but benefit them as well.

Benton REA has teamed up with the fair to provide a new program called "Safe Kids." Parents can visit the information booth with their child and put their phone number on the inside of a wristband. If they happen to wander off and are found by someone, they can help them find their parents using the phone number.

"They can't always remember cell phone numbers if they're too little, or you know, they had too much cotton candy and can't focus or whatever it may be," said Lori Lancaster, Executive Director of the fair. "It just gives us a way for our internal team to quickly be able to identify and to find the parent and reunite them."

Another new addition will be the "Hometown Makers Market," aimed to highlight local small businesses. It'll be near the front gate with businesses who make their own items.

"Furniture that's made here -- there will be signage that can be created for you, there will be a lady making cookies," Lancaster said. "There's all kinds of different things and so we just wanted to find a way to accommodate them and to show off those businesses to the public."

They'll also have pop-up booths for small businesses. Lancaster said it's for those who don't have a lot of inventory but those who want to get their name out there. The pop-ups will be twice a day with three-hour windows for each business.

Live art will also be done in the area, and a horse trailer has been converted into a bar so people can drink and shop.

The Academy of Children's Theatre will be at the fair talking to kids of "Matilda" and ways they plan to fundraise for a new building.

For those looking to try something new, food vendor "Doozies" will debut at the fair. They'll have donut ice cream sandwiches – some called "unicorn" and "zombie."

To kick things off, the Grand Parade and Demo Derby will take place on Saturday, followed by several rodeo days. The rodeo is ranked 21 for the PRCA in the nation.

And to end the night, several musical performs will hit the Hayden Homes Stage. The opening act is Cheap Trick followed by Dustin Lynch, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 3 Doors Down, Celebration of the Eagles, and The Guess Who featuring Fastlane. Those performers will start at 7:30 p.m.

If you don't want to battle a parking lot, Ben Franklin Transit is offering their shuttle service. They'll be at several locations:

  • Kamiakin High School
  • Lampson Stadium
  • HAPO Center
  • 22nd Avenue Transit Center
  • Knight Street Transit Center
  • Tulip Lane Park & Ride

The shuttles will come around every 15 minutes to an hour depending on location and time-of-duty. Each ride is $1.50 per person or $4 for a family of five. Kids five and under are free.

To snag a deal, you can get a combination deal with fair admission and bus ride. It's $14 for adults and $7 for kids six to 12-years-old. The bus ride is round-trip.

The fair runs Aug. 20-24. They're open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Saturday, they'll be open until midnight. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. 

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