By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
High temps don’t faze fairgoers as 106th Stanislaus County Fair gets underway
sc fair 2024 1
Mavrik Estacio, a rising freshman with Turlock FFA, gives one of his heifers a much-needed cold shower as they prepared to brave the triple-digit temperatures at the 2024 Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by Christopher Correa

Despite temperatures spiking to 108 degrees and an Excessive Heat Warning from the National Weather Service in place when the gates to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock officially opened to the general public, a determined crowd still made it out to the opening day of the 106th Stanislaus County Fair on Friday afternoon.

Per tradition, the first day of festivities was sponsored by the Turlock Journal’s parent company, 209 Magazine. To keep the Fourth of July spirit going, the first 1,000 kids received red, white and blue glow necklaces and all active and former military members were admitted free of charge. The patriotic theme will continue Saturday when the first 1,000 kids will get temporary red, white and blue Stanley mascot tattoos.

Usually, families begin forming a line at each of the entries more than an hour before gates officially open on the first day of festivities. But on Friday, the first few visitors elected to not brave the heat and arrived just a couple minutes before the grand opening. Nevertheless, by the time the sun started setting, the walkways were as jam-packed as usual.

Temperatures continued sizzling in the 100s until about 8:30 p.m. on Friday and did not drop out of the 90s until just before the grounds closed at midnight. 

Mavrik Estacio, who will be a freshman at Turlock High later this year, has showed animals at two prior fairs. This year, as he prepares to show three heifers and a bull, he is giving his cattle more water and giving them more frequent cold showers to help them stay cool and healthy.

"This is the hottest year, by far," Estacio said. "Any time they get hot, I just take them out and go rinse them. We've had a few rinses already to help them stay cool. I've also been giving them more water so they stay hydrated, which is super important."

To help individuals combat the heat, there are additional cooling sections with fans and misters placed throughout the premises. At the cooling spaces are even water filling stations, where guests can fill their cups with cold water, free of charge. Two sealed water bottles or sports drinks per person or one empty reusable bottle per person is allowed on the premises.

There are also a number of refreshments for sale. This year, the grounds are hosting 41 concession stands serving up a variety of food and perhaps most important ice-cold fountain and alcoholic drinks to the folks. New vendors serving up cold treats are Suds & Floats, Aguas Frescas and Vic’s Churros and Ice Cream.

Staff is predicting the fair to draw approximately 240,000 visitors this year, a slight drop-off from the 270,000 that walked the fairgrounds last year. 

“The Stanislaus County Fair is not just a fun event but a major economic driver for our community,” said Mayor Amy Bublak in a press release on Wednesday. “This is a fantastic opportunity for countless individuals from around our region to experience what makes Turlock such a great place to call home.”

In addition to Friday’s giveaway, visitors were treated to a performance from country music star David Lee Murphy— who performed hit songs like “Dust on the Bottle,” “PartyCrowd” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” — at the Modelo Variety Free Stage, tractor pulls at the FoodMaxx Arena and a drone show, tabbed as the “Patriotic Sky Spectacular.”

The Stanislaus County Fair was awarded a grant from the Valley Air District to introduce an innovative and environmentally friendly alternative to fireworks. The drone show has been described as a choreographed performance of lights and music, creating dynamic aerial formations and visual displays. The drones will grace the sky over the fairgrounds over the weekend, as well. Saturday will be the second day of the Patriotic Sky Spectacular while Sunday’s will be a multicultural sky show.

On weekdays, the fairgrounds will open to the general public at 4 p.m. On weekends, the gates open at noon. Grounds close each day at midnight. The ticket office will also be open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, head to

“We have a really great fair this year,” said CEO Kim Williams. “We’re excited to have everyone over and hope they all enjoy what we have in store this year.”

sc fair 2024 2
Zippy the clown of Swan Circus stays cool with an Icee the first day of the Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal
sc fair 2024 4
Fairgoers took to the midway for fun at the Stanislaus County Fair’s opening day on Friday. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal
sc fair 2024 6
Country music star David Lee Murphy performed hit songs like “Dust on the Bottle,” “PartyCrowd” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” at the Modelo Variety Free Stage Friday night. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal