Count down to fair begins!

by San Juan County

The 2023 San Juan County Fair is almost here, and with it comes new and exciting events, games, and local flavors! This year’s theme is “Dancing with the Steers,” which fairgoers will find easy to do with over 20 bands slated to bring toe-tappin’ tunes, plenty of food vendors cooking up old favorites and new surprises, and so much more. There’s something for everyone, so be sure to join the fun Aug. 16-19!

Online entry makes presenter registration a breeze:

The Fair is thrilled to provide a new online entry feature for those wishing to enter something in the Fair. Online entry will allow exhibitors to show up with their items, pick up their entry tags, and skip the paperwork on-site. All you need to do is visit the San Juan County Fair website, ( and select the section titled, “2023 San Juan County Open Fair –” to enter your items in the County Fair. Registration is open and available until August 13. Any entries not registered online will still be accepted on site from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

The Online Open Entry feature is especially helpful to those who do not live on or frequent San Juan Island and find it difficult to register items in-person. By giving fairgoers from other islands greater accessibility to the entry process, the Fair hopes to continue building a sense of community and comradery around this special event.

Music to go “Dancing with the Steers”

“With this year’s line-up, we are representing the community in all its fashions,” said Caleb Turner, San Juan County Fair’s Entertainment Coordinator. According to Turner, the Fair will showcase 13 island bands and 11 off-island acts. Get a sense for each night’s music lineup by following San Juan County’s Spotify account. Here you’ll find specially curated playlists for every night of the Fair so you’ll be ready to sing along!

A few of the local bands include Eastsound’s Rare Bird Committee, Friday Harbor’s Jesus Chords, and the Lopez Island Cajun Band.

“I grew up performing at the County Fair,” said Avery Adams, of Orcas Island’s Rare Bird Committee and life-long islander. “It was a huge part of my formative childhood experience and holds a lot of treasured memories. Performing this year is a very full-circle moment for me and the band.”

Adams grew up on San Juan Island, graduated from Friday Harbor High School, and now works as the head chef at the wildly popular Matia restaurant on Orcas Island.

“This is a special moment for music in the County, especially after the pandemic,” continued Adams. “The County Fair is an opportunity to express community pride and serves as a celebratory moment for the band and for me personally.”

With a greater emphasis on local representation in the music lineup, Parks and Fair staff hope to further build a sense of community over the four-day event.

“We’ve made a slightly larger investment to the music lineup this year to bring in new bands and new sounds for fairgoers while also accommodating nearly every local band who requested to play,” said Brandon Cadwell, the County’s Parks & Fair Director.

One of this year’s headliners is a band from Utah called The National Parks, who will be playing at the same music festival as The 1975 and Guns N’ Roses in Atlanta this September. Another big name coming to the County Fair stage is Brian Jay, better known as Gitkin, who is a Grammy-nominated producer based out of New York.

“The lineup represents all the different types of people that live around here, different sounds for different folks,” said Turner.

Phenomenal Fair Food

There’s nothing that pulls a community together quite like fair food! With many local food vendors signed up for the Fair this year, it’s going to be hard NOT to eat local! From the Friday Harbor Elementary School Pie Booth to the Poutine Your Mouth food truck from Lopez Island, Fair food brings us together. Not to mention the Hungarian Kitchen is back this year, which means Elephant Ears all around!

The American Legion Axillary will be grilling up their famous burgers and BeanWater will be brewing the coffee to keep you going all day long. The classic sno-cone building of Cascade Concessions will be serving shaved-ice and corn dogs, while Bro Jack LLC will be smoking their mouthwatering barbeque. From the delicious salmon and ramen of the Critical Thinking School to the amazing tacos and tamales of Chepe’s Tamales, there will be a little something for everyone to eat at the County Fair.

“The County Fair is made of and by the community. It is an exhibition of who we are, and the best of who we are as a community,” said Cadwell.

The community is who creates, runs and enjoys the county fair. This year, the fair will provide a tighter sense of community through the music lineup as well as the online entry feature.

We cannot wait to see the community “Dancing with the Steers” at the 2023 County Fair!