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101st Stanislaus County Fair ends on a high note
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Kassi Fortado accompanies her daughter Madilynn on the swing ride at the Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

At this point, if you’re still imagining the fun, it’s too late.

The Stanislaus County Fair ended its 10-day run at midnight on Sunday. Just hours later, all the cotton candy, corn dogs, and carnival rides were trucking down the road.

Though it’s still too early to judge exactly how the fair went, with attendance figures expected in the coming weeks, initial impressions have been positive.

“It went really well for us this year,” said Adrenna Alkhas, fair spokesperson. “It was highly attended. We were really satisfied with all the events that we had.”

Celebrating its 101st year, the Stanislaus County Fair experienced many changes this year. There was no hypnotist. The Budweiser Clydesdales were unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. The livestock schedule was changed, especially impacting young dairy cow showmen and women who showed cows before the start of the fair. The destruction derbies were moved to the first Friday and Saturday of the fair, from their traditional Monday and Tuesday dates.

Some of those changes were driven by declining budgets, with the State of California drastically reducing its contributions to fairs across the state.

But most changes ended up being for the better, Alkhas said. The derby date change allowed participants to compete without taking time off work. The livestock changes allowed more children to participate, as barn space was less cramped.

And money saved in other areas allowed the fair to bring the K9 Kings Flying Dog Show to Turlock – a new attraction with high-jumping canines which earned rave reviews.

“We had a lot of people talk about the dog show and how great it was, and how family friendly it was,” Alkhas said.

Arena events were well attended at the fair, with the rodeo being a particularly large draw. The Budweiser Variety Free Stage acts, ranging from former “American Idol” contestant Kelly Pickler to the Peking Acrobats and children’s’ musicians The Wiggles, also drew larger than expected crowds, Alkhas said.

All in all, the 2012 Stanislaus County Fair was undoubtedly a success, Alkhas said. But that success was only made possible by the many guests, corporate sponsors, and fair staffers.

“If our community doesn’t come together and help us, then we wouldn’t have a fair,” Alkhas said.