NEWPORT — A few changes are in store for the 69th annual Newport Rodeo, including the return of the family carnival and an alternate parade route.
The last time the family carnival was held during the rodeo was 2014, said Newport Rodeo Association president Ray Hanson. It was a last minute addition this year, Hanson said, as the carnival company called him less than two weeks ago to let him know they would be there.
"It's worth it, because the community has been really honest about getting the carnival back," Hanson said. "They want the family atmosphere it used to have all those years ago."
Hanson said the parade route changed this year due to the road construction on Highway 41.
"We are not to able to use (Highway 2) through the city of Newport on Washington Street, because we can't close down the traffic on the state highway this year," Hanson said, explaining the need for the route change from previous years. "According to the Washington DOT, we will need to change our route for the next two years while construction is going on on Highway 41."
The parade route will follow the same route as the Newport High School homecoming parade, Hanson said. The parade will start at Stratton Elementary and head north on Calispel Avenue, taking a right on First Street briefly before turning left and heading north to Spruce Street where the procession will take another right past the hospital. They will then proceed to Spokane Avenue where they will again turn right, heading south on Spokane to Fourth Street and back to the elementary school, Hanson said.
The weekend festivities begin around 5 p.m. Thursday, June 21, when the vendors and carnival will open up for a family fun night. The vendors will open around 4 p.m. Friday, and the rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. that evening. The carnival will stay open until around midnight Friday. In addition to Friday's events, the Roxy Theater will put on a free movie for the kids in the Newport Rodeo vendor park area at 9:30 p.m.
The parade will kick off festivities at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 23, with the Newport School District honored as the grand marshal of the parade for its contributions to the community, Hanson said.
Vendors will open up around noon on Saturday and there will be music and entertainment throughout the day, including camel rides, a Brazilian ox to take photos with, bounce houses and the carnival. The rodeo performances will again start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Festivities will conclude Saturday night with a dance at the fairgrounds after the rodeo. The dance will finish up around 1 a.m.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.