A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through the race Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds during the pig races on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Ninilchik, Alaska. Spectators place bets on their favorite swine to win and the proceeds go to support the fair. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through the race Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds during the pig races on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Ninilchik, Alaska. Spectators place bets on their favorite swine to win and the proceeds go to support the fair. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Fair to bring bands, food, animals and a cappella groups to Ninilchik

The event runs Friday through Sunday with a packed schedule of performances and attractions

Animals, bands, fair food and a surprising number of a cappella groups will come to Ninilchik this weekend for the 71st Annual Kenai Peninsula Fair. The event runs Friday through Sunday with a packed schedule of performances and attractions across stages and rodeo grounds.

Longtime Fair Coordinator Lara McGinnis spoke about the range of events on offer, including the Whiffenpoofs, an a cappella group composed of students from Yale University; Bethany, an 11-year-old singer performing a tribute to Hobo Jim; The Fearless Flores, a daredevil couple and their daredevil daughter featured on America’s Got Talent; and a marquee performance given by Home Free.

Home Free is another a cappella group, with a country focus. They first performed at the Kenai Peninsula Fair in 2014. “They fell in love with Alaska, and we fell in love with them,” McGinnis said. “They have a beatboxer. They don’t just do a cappella vocals, they have full percussion, and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard. It’s phenomenal.” The group will hold a concert Saturday night at 7 p.m. requiring tickets currently available online, separate from fair admission.

The presence of two a cappella groups was a funny coincidence according to McGinnis. Negotiations to bring Home Free back began over a year ago, while the Whiffenpoofs were added to the roster only a week before the start of the event because they just happened to be in the area.

Another major attraction of the fair is Rodeo Alaska, who are putting on a show Friday night at 6:30 p.m. This will include a bull and barrel riding event called “Beauty and the Beast,” which McGinnis said will feature more than 20 bull riders. There will also be pig races and a petting zoo throughout the weekend.

Food trucks and other options will be available at the fair, including Hot Dogs a-la-carte, Wok n’ Roll, Taco Love, the Honey Bee Cafe and Wisconsin Cheese Curds. McGinnis said there would be kettle corn, ice cream and cotton candy “because it wouldn’t be a fair without that.”

McGinnis said the goal of the fair is “to connect generations.” The fair is staffed by volunteering teens from 4-H, a local basketball team, and others from the community. McGinnis said she’s been producing the fair for 15 years, and has had the opportunity to watch the volunteers grow up and support the fair as adults.

The fair targets families and children, looking to provide “the happiest place you can be.” Tickets to the fair are $10 for adults and $5 for youth, with discounted $3 admission for kids and seniors on Friday. The fair will be open Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The Kenai Peninsula Fair is its own entity, a private nonprofit run by a board of directors. McGinnis is an independent consultant, formerly a contracted employee, brought in each year to organize the event. Proceeds are primarily used to maintain the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds and to pay property taxes on the space, according to McGinnis.

To view a schedule of events or to purchase tickets, visit kenaipeninsulafair.com.

More in News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Les Gara, left, discusses hospitality industry issues during a forum Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, with independent candidate Bill Walker, right, at Louie’s Douglas Inn. The forum was hosted by the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association, with the organization’s president and CEO Sarah Oates acting as the moderator. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Walker, Gara get into a bar debate

Candidates for governor talk about serving, shortages and ships during industry forum in Juneau

The Homer Police Station, as seen Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News file)
Homer teen arrested after school shooting threat

Police received a tip from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Anchorage office

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
27 new deaths reported; COVID cases, hospitalizations down overall

For the period of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, 554 new COVID-19 cases were reported

A mini-library contains books at Daubnespeck Park on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Take a book, leave a book

Mini-library network looks to expand

Pumpkins submitted to the pumpkin decorating contest are seen at the 5th annual Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival in Kenai, Alaska, on Oct. 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Pumpkins — on the ground and from above — to make appearance at annual festival

The Kenai Fall Pumpkin Festival is back on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

Elementary school students line up to touch a salmon during the annual egg take demonstration at the Anchor River on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Anchor Point, Alaska. Students leave the egg take event with fertilized salmon eggs to raise into fry throughout the year through the Salmon in the Classroom project hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sport Fish Division. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News file)
Kids to get close-up look at fish life cycle

Alaska Department of Fish and Game representatives will conduct presentations at coho salmon egg takes

Fat Bear Week bracket (Photo courtesy Katmai National Park & Preserve)
Fat bears face off

Voters decide on the heftiest Katmai brown bear

Voting booths are set up at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Unofficial results: school bond, field house OK’d

Incumbents also came out ahead in preliminary results

Spencer McLean and his daughter, Emma McLean, show their support for Proposition 3, through which a new CES Station 1 would be constructed in Soldotna, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blustery weather, average turnout mark municipal election day

Up for consideration this year were city council, board of education and assembly seats, as well as a handful of propositions affecting borough schools, emergency services and legislative representation

Most Read