Ham on the run — The 2017 Stanislaus County Fair once again features pig races and many other entertainments. The fair opens this weekend and runs for nearly two weeks. Photo by Susan Laird

Spotlight Columns

Wholesome family fare at Northern California’s ‘other’ big fair

By From page A7 | July 12, 2017

On Friday two of Northern California’s biggest fairs open to the public.

Both offer unique experiences. Both have long traditions.

The one I’m sharing with you today, however, is “the little fair that delivers” — in a big way — for 10 full, fun-packed days. And it’s got shade.

Path to adventure
The Stanislaus County Fair is worth packing the kids into the family SUV for a day trip south along Highway 99. (It’s a just-under-two-hour drive).

Why? Because the board and staff began planning your 2017 fair experience the day after the 2016 fair closed.

“There are never-ending options at the fair, whether you are looking to just sit back and enjoy or participate in an event,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. “The fair has something to offer each guest; you will not want to miss out on some of the free entertainment.”

The 2017 fair will feature a spectacular children’s area presented by Sky Trek Aviation. Also planned for 2017 are 10-nights of free celebrity concerts included with fair admission, a total of three stages of live entertainment, upward of 30,000 local exhibits and more than 1,750 animals. Metal-mashing motorsports and three nights of rodeo in the FoodMaxx Arena will also be featured.

Time warp ahead
As one walks the tree-lined pathways of the fairgrounds, it is impossible not to feel a connection with the past. This fair has a rich heritage — well over a century of history. This is the Stanislaus County Fair’s 106th year and the locals are proud of that.

Critters
Expect to see lots of animals every day. There are daily shows featuring livestock. The 4-H and Future Farmers of America turn out in force. As do exhibitors for the junior (pre-K to 12th grade) and senior (age 18 and up) exhibits.

There are pigs, cows, bunnies, horses, sheep and goats galore, every day. There is a petting zoo for the kiddos.

One of my favorites events is also on the schedule: the pig races. Cheer for your favorite porker as he or she gives it their all.

Cooling stations
In addition to the abundant shade, there are places to escape the heat. Specific areas are set aside for cooling stations. There are recharging stations for electronic gear and places where nursing mothers and the little ones can have a quiet moment.

Free concerts
At the Bud Light Variety Free Stage look for some big names performing live: LeAnn Rimes; UB40 Legends Ali, Astro and Mickey; Banda Rancho Viejo; Eli Young Band; Morris Day & the Time; 38 Special; Lonestar; Good Charlotte; Dennis Quaid & the Sharks; and Lupillo Rivera. The concerts are free with fair admission.

In addition to the vendors and every kind of food imaginable on a stick.

Fair app
The best way to stay on top of it all is the Stanislaus County Fair Mobile App.

The Fair’s Mobile App is available through any App store, simply search “Stanislaus County Fair” and download the app for free. The app is compatible with both iPhones and Androids.

The user-friendly interface makes it easy to travel around the fairgrounds and have all the information you need in the palm of your hand. The app includes event listings, an interactive map, social media news, a historical timeline, daily discounts, park ’n ride information, and a daily planner to help guests plan before attending the fair.

The 2017 Stanislaus County Fair opens Friday, July 14, for a 10-day run. Fair guests can count on an award-winning experience that has been over 106 years in the making.

The Stanislaus County Fair is located at 900 N. Broadway Ave. in Turlock. Visit stancofair.com for fair hours and additional information. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids (ages 7 to 12), and free for little ones 6 and younger. Unlimited ride wristbands are $30 Monday through Friday and $35 on weekends.

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected]

Susan Laird

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