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Alaska State Fair opens for a 12-day run

Mike Dunham
From left, Caleb, Corwin and Amara Elliot enjoy some cotton candy on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. The family is from Wasilla. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Ruthann Stitt gets set for the 4H Livestock Auction in the barn on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Alissa Foy of Wasilla pets her alpine goat Eeyore on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Brittyn Werner of Palmer redoes her pig for the 4H Livestock Auction on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
From left, Lindsay Vontish, Harrison Jennings and Joseph Gugel wait for their turn to perform in the fiddle contest on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
David Johns of Anchorage competes in the farmer's carry event of the Strongman of the North competition on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
UAA Flight Crew acrobatic performer Jessica Jacob performs on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Brittyn Werner of Palmer shows her pig Jojo during the 4H Livestock Auction on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Auctioneer Mike Dewan calls out the bids at left. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair. Ashley Alsup, an assistant stage manager for the Colony Stage, peeks through the wall at a performer in the fiddle competition.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A costumed character greets passers-by near the Pony Wheel on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Lights on the ferris wheel streak in a long-exposure photograph. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Philip Tait plays the Alaska Flag Song on his baritone on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Tait is a cook at the Pasty Shack. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Baily Beus washes her calf Milo before 4h auction on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Isabella Siegel, 10, carries Clyde, a blue cochin mixed pullet chicken on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Temujin Horsey stands by his yak named Yoshi in the barn at the Alaska State Fair. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Scott Robb's world record-setting cabbage was on display in the barn on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Robb's entry weighed in at 138.25 pounds. Labor Day, September 3, is the last day of the fair.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A crowd gathers to watch the Avett Brothers at the fair. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Taylor Jolley, her twin sister, Trinity Jolley and Brielle Dagon are having fun at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A fair visitor spins a hula hoop late Wednesday. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Taylor Jolley hugs the stuffed hamster her mother Kathy Jolley won for her at the NASCAR game at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A Golden Wheel Amusments worker works a game booth. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Visitors enjoy the livestock exhibits at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A fair-goer considers a stop at a crab cake booth. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
The nearly full moon rises over the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The Avett Brothers perform Wednesday. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Jacelyn and Morgan Mahoney cross a bridge on the Raiders ride at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Lights on the Super Round-Up ride streak in a long-exposure photograph. Concerts, food and glowing rides drew crowds to the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday evening, August 29, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
The nearly full moon rises over the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The nearly full moon rises over the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Christina Collinn and son Adaiden Hennigan ride the merry-go-round at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Ozzie Faulk and his flaming hair at the Fair Hair booth at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Issac Aprill and Eric Hunter ride the merry-go-round at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Kimberly Parazoo, of Palmer, watches the action in the barn at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Whitnie Paraoan works on Ozzie Faulk's hair at the Fair Hair booth at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Alexis Mikes and Makai George show off their painted faces at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Megan Coffelt and Sierra Weaver at work at the Viewdoo lens cleaner booth at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Tina Wright spins cotton candy at the Beta Sigma Phi booth at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Mariahlee Hooks and Ciana Barrera sport dragon hats at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Chloe St Jean Richard and Pierre Alexandre Dion with the Brown Entertainment acrobatic show pose for pictures at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Posing for pictures with the Brown Entertainment acrobatic show performers at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Whitnie Paraoan works on Ozzie Faulk's hair at the Fair Hair booth at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Checking out the hairdo at the Fair Hair booth at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Adaiden Hennigan shows off his Hulk face at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Fair visitors are having fun at the NASCAR game at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Jaycob, Jordan and Joshua Powers ride the sizzler at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Fenya and Alex Zaiesev have wax casts of their hands made as their daughter Polly Zaiesev looks on at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The Brown Entertainment acrobatic show entertained the crowd at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Laura Knowles watches as the two by four Jenga tower collapses after she pulled out a piece at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Rides, games, food, entertainment, livestock, face painting and fair hair are just some of the attractions at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A youngster crosses one of the suspension bridges on the Raiders ride as the nearly full moon floats over the Chugach Mountains at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A stuffed animal is used to try to get the gerbil to move off the center of the spinning table and head for one of the colored holes on the edge at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Players at the Palmer Elks Lodge 1842 rat race game bet on which color hole the gerbil will dive into.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Todd Tukaya, Allen Black and Marlene Black ride the sizzler at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dr. Jay Fuller, Assistant State Veterinarian, checks one of Della Tryon's chickens at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Tryon, who is member of the Wassila Explorers 4H Club, brought ducks, rabbits, chickens, turkeys and guinea pigs to the fair.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Riding the Merry-Round at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Riding the Merry-Round at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Pioneer Peak 4H Club members Lindsay Beames, Kristen Beames and Aria Beames have livestock entered in the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The Brown Entertainment acrobatic show entertained the crowd at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Benjamin Amyot performs on the trampoline during the Brown Entertainment acrobatic show at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Julie Kenley and daughter Megan Kenley bring some baby pygmy goats to the petting zoo at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Micah Johonson and mom Andrea Johonson ride the Cliff Hanger ride at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Jessica Root shows off some of the prizes as she runs the NASCAR game at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Paulsberg pulls up a frog at the Fried Frogs game and friend Jasmine Laguna reaches out for it at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Madilynn Dwyer pulls up a frog at the Fried Frogs game as dad Andrew Dwyer and mom Dawn Harms look on at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Akilina Basargin and Vasilisa Serebrekoff hang upside down on the Apollo ride at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Fair visitors ride the Bobsleds ride at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Large pigs entertain visitors at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Pioneer Peak 4H Club member Kristen Beames and her Yorkshire Hampshire cross pigs at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Pioneer Peak 4H Club member Ashleena Roberts enters her reindeer at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Pioneer Peak 4H Club member Ashleena Roberts and her reindeer pose with the giant pumpkins at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dr. Jay Fuller, Assistant State Veterinarian, checks one of Della Tryon's chickens at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Tryon, who is member of the Wassila Explorers 4H Club, brought ducks, rabbits, chickens, turkeys and guinea pigs to the fair.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Pioneer Peak 4H Club members Colton and Russell Roberts wait to enter their Suffolk sheep at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Ron Read and daughter Ava Read pet one of the 4H goats at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Fabian VonImhof and Chase Miller, aka the Hulk, ride the Merry-Round at the 2012 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, AK on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Marshall, from Anchorage, brought two pumpkins to the Alaska State Fair on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in Palmer, AK. The pumpkin that weighed in at 771.5 pounds was the best looking and the 931 pounder was the heaviest in the weigh off. Judges measure the circumference of Marshall's smaller pumpkin.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Marshall, from Anchorage, brought two pumpkins to the Alaska State Fair on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in Palmer, AK. The pumpkin that weighed in at 771.5 pounds was the best looking and the 931 pounder was the heaviest in the weigh off. Marshall and his nephew Jack Lynd pose with the 931-pound pumpkin after the weigh off.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Marshall, from Anchorage, brought two pumpkins to the Alaska State Fair on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in Palmer, AK. The pumpkin that weighed in at 771.5 pounds was the best looking and the 931 pounder was the heaviest in the weigh off. Marshall and his nephew Jack Lynd pose with the 931-pound pumpkin after the weigh off.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Marshall, from Anchorage, brought two pumpkins to the Alaska State Fair on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in Palmer, AK. The pumpkin that weighed in at 771.5 pounds was the best looking and the 931 pounder was the heaviest in the weigh off. Marshall looks on as judges J.D. Megchelsen, Don Carling and Scott Robb inspect the bottom of his 771.5-pound pumpkin for cracks. The larger one rests in the background.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Marshall's nephew Jack Lynd and the cabbage fairies pose with the 771.5-pound pumpkin after the weigh off. Marshall, from Anchorage, brought two pumpkins to the Alaska State Fair on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in Palmer, AK. The pumpkin that weighed in at 771.5 pounds was the best looking and the 931 pounder was the heaviest in the weigh off.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Toby Mac, a two-year-old Cardigan Welsh Corgi owned by Janette Bower of Palmer, herds shetland sheep during a demonstration by the AKC Alaska Herding Group Club during the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
A goat waits to enter the ring during the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
People watch chicks as they hatch from eggs during the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Some fair goers arrived by an Alaska Railroad train to the Alaska State Fair grounds in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Kettle corn was a popular food item purchased at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Julia Gebert, 12, was one of six youth who won a $1,500 scholarship through the Alaska Communications Heroes program during a check presentation at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
David M. Frost, 3, of Soldotna, making bubbles at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Nate Hare, left, and Cassidy Scheer, right, entertain the crowd with a log rolling demonstration during the Scheer's Lumberjack Show at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Hannah Richards, 17, eats some fair food at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Tayler Roberson and her father Sean Roberson have some food at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Brodie Orton hits the water during the Scheer's Lumberjack Show at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Cassidy Scheer speed climbs during the Scheer's Lumberjack Show at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Scheer's Lumberjack Show at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

PALMER -- Rain pounded the Alaska State Fair grounds on Thursday morning, but by noon, when the gates opened for the first day of the fair, skies lightened and precipitation eased to a bare drizzle. While sprinkles continued for the rest of the day, it wasn't enough to keep the pavement wet.

As usual, traffic was relatively light on opening day. But a line formed at the "Our Body: Live Healthy" display at the Don Sheldon Events Center. That facility, which in previous years has housed showings of reptiles and kangaroos, is the site of an exhibit of preserved human specimens intended to illustrate the construction and functions of the body. It includes 12 complete cadavers with portions removed to show anatomical details, a skeleton and removed human skin, with several limb and organs displayed separately.

The exhibit, sponsored by the Mat-Su Health Foundation and Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, is free, but if the anticipated crowds show up, tickets may be required to enter at certain times. The tickets may be picked up outside the Sheldon Center. It is recommended for viewers age 12 and older, in part due to the fact that the mostly male bodies are nude. However many families with much younger children were seen at the exhibit on Thursday.

The picturesque log cabin food booths appear to be safe for the time being. Last year some vendors were alarmed by reports that the state fire marshal might require them to be closed over safety concerns.

The issue was re-examined in light of the booths historic and sentimental value, Fair media contact Kristi Holta said, and there is no longer any threat that they will be closed.

"It's really not an issue any more," Holta said. "(Vendors) have made whatever upgrades they needed to make. We're told that should solve this problem."

Concerns over swine flu transmitted by livestock have led to special precautions at fairs in the Lower 48, but are not an issue in Alaska, officials at the State Fair livestock barn said. All animals at the Palmer fair are inspected by veterinarians as they are brought in. A number of hand sanitation stations are set up near the petting zoo and those touching animals are encouraged to use them.

The fair will continue through Sept. 3. Highlights this weekend will include the Alaska State Fair Rodeo at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. More information is available at alaskastatefair.org.

Photos: Alaska State Fair
Play: Alaska State Fair concert series preview
By MIKE DUNHAM
Anchorage Daily News
Contact Mike Dunham at or on