Every year, around 7,000 people from across the State of Alaska descend upon Ninilchik for the Kenai Peninsula State Fair. Held at 16200 Sterling Highway, the Kenai Peninsula State Fair is a chance for residents of Ninilchik and surrounding townships to gather for three days of fun, entertainment, and action galore.
Ninilchik itself is not a township that typically sees thousands of visitors. It’s home to fewer than 1,000 people and is around 50 miles from the coastal Alaskan city of Kenai, south of Anchorage. However, the beauty of the area, many natural attractions, and the promise of plenty of fun things to do are what makes many people pencil it in on their calendars.
The Kenai Peninsula State Fair incorporates 12,000 square feet of indoor gathering space, making it perfect for the fair every summer in August. There’s live music, western-style rodeo events, pig races, competitions, a parade, and more. There are also over 800 exhibits with people aged between two years old and 90 who fight for their blue ribbon and bragging rights.
Once you finish checking out the fair, you’ve got a natural paradise to explore. Deep Creek State Recreation Area, Tustumena Lake, and Kenai Fjords National Park are a few of the many photo-worthy attractions in the area.
If you’re yet to organize your summer RV adventure, then could the Kenai Peninsula State Fair be it? Ninilchik residents welcome you and your family with open arms.
General admission tickets are not available to buy on the fair website, but you can view the latest event schedules there for the Kenai Peninsula State Fair. If you intend to camp at the fairgrounds, you’ll need to book in advance and specify how many days you would like to stay. You will need to buy one ticket per vehicle and have it visible for access to the fair camping area.
There is one main route in and out of Ninilchik, and that’s Sterling Highway, also seen as AK-1. This highway leads you from towns and cities such as Soldotna and Sterling, all the way to the small township and state fair. During summer, driving conditions are reasonably good.
However, the altogether challenging conditions of Alaska mean that you may like to pay attention to weather and traffic apps before and during your travels. LocalConditions is one of many travel apps that can be of assistance in the Anchorage area north of the Kenai Peninsula. Remember to consider your route to Alaska whether by air, land, or even water when planning your RV pick-up.
Parking spots are available for both general vehicles and RVs across the highway from the fair and adjacent to St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church. There may be a small fee for day parking, but all proceeds go back into the township.
If you intend on camping on site, you can inquire about accessing the wooded acreage at the back of the fairgrounds by Oilwell Road, onto Kingsley, then down to Bluff Road.
The small size of Ninilchik means there isn’t likely to be any public transportation in operation for the fair. It’s in your best interest to use your RV as your primary source of transportation, with camping spots nearby to make the journey from your accommodation to the fairgrounds a breeze. There are also plenty of parking spots for RVs to ensure navigation is as easy as possible.
Even though there is an abundance of nearby campgrounds, RV-goers are also given the opportunity to camp at the fairgrounds. There is a lightly wooded area at the back of the fairgrounds, with access from Oilwell Road by the town’s gas station. While there are no service hookups, it’s a wonderfully close area that provides quick access to the fairgrounds daily. You’re also able to use a generator and make use of your onboard RV kitchen appliances.
Ninilchik may have a conservative population, but it’s renowned for its camping opportunities. The beautiful Deep Creek State Recreation area with RV camping spots is within a half-hour walk of the fairgrounds, and there’s another campground within a mile as well. Along Sterling Highway, there are even more camping facilities to satisfy your needs. Book in advance to ensure you get your first pick.
The best way to get around the Kenai Peninsula State Fair is on foot. You can park your vehicle in the day parking area across the road, or the camping area if you are staying on site, then walk quickly to the fairgrounds. There are over 12,000 feet of indoor space to navigate on foot and plenty outside as well.
It may be summer during the Kenai Peninsula State Fair, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to wander around in a singlet and shorts for the duration of your stay. Temperatures in August can fluctuate between 50 and 70, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for summer attire. Pack a mixture of items that you can layer. Comfortable footwear, a hat, scarf, and gloves may also come in handy.
When you start to pack for your trip to Ninilchik, do so with off-the-grid camping and isolation in mind. You’ll need your generator, onboard RV appliances, and all your tanks topped up and ready to go. Extra blankets and a newly serviced heater wouldn’t go astray either. Once you reach the fairgrounds, bring a light backpack with cash, a water bottle, a first aid kit, and a few extra pieces of clothing should you need them.
Kenai Peninsula State Fair officials take your health and safety seriously. As a result, they don’t allow cigarettes, vape products, and illegal drugs anywhere on the fairgrounds. It’s an entirely smoke-free event. Pop these back in your RV for use after the fair.
Given the isolation of the township, it’s imperative to bring any medical supplies and prescriptions you may need, along with any specific toiletries and other supplies that may be inconvenient to find replacements for in the area.
There are specific rules and regulations surrounding cooking at each campground in the township. Ask your host about what you can and can’t do before you light a campfire. At the fairgrounds, guests may use a generator and onboard RV appliances. If you run out of supplies, there’s a general store on the main highway, mere minutes from the fairgrounds and campsites.
Even though Ninilchik doesn’t have masses of people, it still makes sure that visitors have some exquisite food to try when they’re passing through the peninsula. There’s no shortage of seafood along the main streets, as well as Thai food, pizza, and café cuisine. Take a wander through the township and see what you can find to fill your hungry crew.
While Ninilchik delivers on variety, so too does the Kenai Peninsula State Fair. Dozens of vendors set up shop, ready to offer a range of hot and cold food to tantalize your taste buds. Make sure you bring cash as many vendors will not accept credit. You can then sit down inside or outside and enjoy your snack.
It’s not uncommon to see a few security officials wandering around the fairgrounds. Their job is to make sure everyone is safe and having a good time in Kenai. The security team also works to make sure that no one brings any guns, outside alcohol, vape products, and cigarettes onto fairground property. You can, however, purchase alcohol at the Beer Garden if you are over 21 with ID.
Ninilchik averages around 65 inches of snow every year and has far fewer bright, sunny days than the United States average. Therefore, while August is undoubtedly one of the best months of the year for sunny weather, it’s still not out of the question to feel cold. August temperatures average between 50 and 70 degrees. Prepare your RV for all weather conditions with heating and cooling, and pack a few extra blankets. Don’t forget to top up all your tanks before you hit the road to the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Alaska.
Trained medical staff will be at the fairgrounds to help with any minor injuries or accidents. However, given the isolation of the township, it doesn’t hurt to bring your own medical supplies for cuts and scrapes. Ensure that you bring any unique medical items with you. For anything more serious, dial 9-11 or travel to the nearest hospital which is near Kachemak Bay under an hour away.