From guests having a roaring good time inside the new dinosaur exhibit to kids learning about real life Zebras and Camels inside the 4H Farmyard, the 107th Stanislaus County Fair brought in crowds from various places to educate themselves about science and agriculture while having fun.
This year’s edition of the fair drew in over 230,000 guests during its 10-day run. The fair opened on Friday, July 13 and concluded its annual run on Sunday, July 22. Fair concessions were up 1 percent and Butler Amusement, the fair ride operator, was down 5 percent compared to 2017.
“This year was successful even with a slight decrease in attendance,” said Matt Cranford, chief executive officer of the Stanislaus County Fair. “Great music and some cooler evenings really create a fun evening out in the summer.”
Highlights of the 2018 Fair included the Dinosaur exhibit; Innovation Station; the empowHER Lounge; The Motorcycle Stunt Show; Pig Races; the ReCharge Lounge; the Baby Care Center; and the return of Suzy Haner the Hypnotist. Another success for the 2018 Fair was the 3,090 children who signed up for the Kids Club program and completed educational passports for a family fun pack from KAT County radio, which included four Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk tickets; four Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets; and two $40 Fandango tickets.
Guests enjoyed the Fair’s Free ‘til 3 p.m. on Sundays. Over 22,000 guests took advantage on both Sundays to attend the fair for free until 3 p.m.
Nearly 30,000 individual entries were exhibited at the 2018 Fair, from orchids and quilts to rabbits and market hogs.
“We are very proud of our exhibit program and it is what sets us apart from other fairs in the state,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. “The true mark of a fair’s success is not in attendance numbers, but in positive exhibitor participation and happy fair guests.”
Livestock increased in entry numbers with total gross sale of animals sold at the fair auctions exceeding over $1.4 million. Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H members sold 125 heifers at the 51st Annual Replacement Heifer Sale, grossing $285,550 ($2,302 per head). Supreme Champion was Benjamin Shinkwin, from Central Catholic FFA, selling his heifer at $5,200. Reserve Supreme Champion was Mariah Agueda, from Hilmar FFA, selling her heifer at $3,600.
The 54th Annual Junior Livestock Auction grossed $821,726 for FFA and 4-H members. Sold at auction were four poultry pens, four market turkeys, 23 rabbits, 178 goats, 178 sheep, 345 swine, and 54 steers. The 54th Annual Market Beef auction grossed at $292,807.
Brennen Keeney, from Waterford 4H, donated all his winning proceeds from the market hog auction to the family of the fallen firefighter, Braden Varney, of Cal fire battling the blaze at Yosemite National Park. Varney was battling the fires on July 14, 2018. As he was creating a firebreak, his bulldozer rolled down a steep ravine. He leaves behind a wife and two kids. Brennen Keeney was able to raise $9,862 from the sale auction. All those proceeds have since been donated to the Varney family.
The excitement of seven nights of motorsports, and three nights of rodeo in the FoodMaxx Arena were welcomed by fair guests. Both destruction derbies were also well attended.
All of the 10 free celebrity concerts on the Bud Light Variety Free Stage were very well received. John Michael Montgomery; Kool & The Gang; La Septima Banda; Trace Adkins; Blue Oyster Cult; Lifehouse; Salt n Pepa; Easton Corbin; Grand Funk Railroad and Pablo Montero drew in large crowds.