One thing I've loved since I was a kid, and still do to this day, is the fair. I think it might have been the sensory overload that got me hooked. There's nothing like the sights, sounds, and smells of the fair. Where else can you see a big fat pig in the livestock barn, look at someone's collection of Bart Simpson memorabilia on display, eat a ridiculous assortment of deep-fried items, and jump on a ride that slingshots you hundreds of feet into the air all, in the same day? And the fact that it only came around once a year just made it seem that much more exciting!

Hard to believe that it's fair time already!

Don't look now but we're less than a month away from the Western Montana Fair returning to the Missoula Fairgrounds. But you probably already knew that because of the way the weather is ramping up to be about 100 degrees by the time the fair hits. Ok, so I don't really know the forecast that far in advance, but it seems like that's always the case, isn't it?

With the fair sneaking up on us let's take a peek at what we can expect when it's time for food, animals, rides, exhibits, and rodeo fun.

WHEN IS THE FAIR?

This year's Western Montana Fair will run from August 10-14.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Admission to the fair is free. Of course, you'll have plenty of other things you'll want to spend your money on for entertainment.

WHAT'S THE THEME?

There's always a theme for the fair and this year is "Dare to Win."

WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE FAIR THIS YEAR?

First Nations Family Day - Held on August 10 and will celebrate Native American heritage. Events for the day include a land acknowledgment ceremony, Native American dance and games, All Nations food booth, Native American art exhibit, Native American market, and a Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG) fundraiser.

Free Entertainment - An assortment of performances that includes Pinky & the Floyd, Dueling Pianos, Izaak Opatz Band, Tommy Edwards, Smith/McKay All Day, The Drunken Hearts, Champagne Sunday, and Dammit Lauren.

The Carnival - Get tickets early and take advantage of deals like an $85 weekly unlimited ride pass that is only available until August 9 and a $30 daily unlimited ride pass that increases to $40 if you purchase after August 9. The carnival will run 11 AM to 10 PM on August 10-13 and 11 AM to 8 PM on August 14.

Xtreme Bulls - Watch PRCA Bull Riders do battle for $10,000 in prize money on the opening night of the fair (August 10.) It's held on First Nations Family Day and 20% of ticket sales benefit MMIWG. Save $5 per ticket if you purchase before August 9.

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The Rodeo - The Missoula Stampede PRCA Rodeo happens August 11-13 with gates opening at 6 PM and a 7 PM start. You can now enjoy a beverage of your choice without leaving the grandstands and the nightly barn dance starts at 9 PM. Save $5 per ticket if you purchase before August 9.

Lords of Racing & FMX - Flat track motorcycle racing returns to the fair on Sunday, August 14. Amateur heats are free to watch at 1 PM and are open to the public. Gates open at 5 PM for the final races featuring a variety of divisions.

Food - You didn't really do the fair if you don't eat your way around it. Make sure you have room for your favorites from a variety of food trucks, food stands, groups, and organizations. There's something for everyone with pulled pork, corn on the cob, sausage on a stick, pizza, kettle corn, nachos, burgers, hot dogs, and fair favorites like tater pigs and Lemondairy.

Exhibits - There are too many to mention. Just get to the fair and take it all in!

See you at the fair!

Five big days of fun are headed our way with the Western Montana Fair. Don't forget about the livestock, vendors, parking information, and more. Everything you need to know for you and your family to enjoy the fair can be found HERE.

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