Arrrrrrg, ye maties. This year it’s talk like a pirate at the Tanana Valley State Fair. Or take a selfie with a pirate — there will be a few strolling around all 10 days of the fair, according to Executive Director Mahla Strohmaier.
Strohmaier was hired to lead the fair last year and has plans to restore it as Fairbanks’ premier summer event. The 95th fair will run Aug. 2-11, and the Pirates for Hire are one of this season’s headliners, Strohmaier said.
“They’ve been at the Palmer fair, and we had two of them at A Women’s Affair. They were a big hit,” she said. The pirates will do daily shows and spend time walking around the fairgrounds and act like pirates. “The guy who plays Jack Sparrow (in Pirates for Hire) is a photo double for Johnny Depp in the movies,” she said.
Other headliners are The Fearless Flores Thrill Show, featuring the Globe of Death and other exciting feats of skill and daring, which were featured on “America’s Got Talent.” Uncle Kracker is the musical guest.
The fair theme is also a nod to past punny agricultural themes: Love is a Cattle Field.
The fair has had a bumpy run for a few years, but Strohmaier has a vision and a strong team that will put the focus on the future, she said.
“I’m from Fairbanks,” she said. “I’ve been here all my life. I’ve watched the fair go up and down over the years. When I was a kid, the fair was the summer event.”
Some changes in the works are in how the fairgrounds are arranged. Entry dates will be expanded and exhibit premiums will be paid out earlier. The rides vendor, A-1 Midway Rides, will be bringing up some new attractions, she said.
But, there’s nothing she can do about one thing the fair is known for.
“Yes, it will rain,” Strohmaier said, laughing, “but it’s nothing we can’t handle.
“We’re all working to make it a friendly, inclusive place — not that it hasn’t been,” she said. “We treat this as our home and we are having a great big party in August and we want everyone to come. We’re celebrating Fairbanks. “