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Opening day brings friends together for fair fun
Faith Pires, 7, enjoys a ride on the merry-go-round during the opening day of the Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

As the Stanislaus County Fair opened its gates Friday for the 105th anniversary of the event, Central Valley residents gathered to partake in the sights, sounds, tastes and memories that can only be found at the fair.

“Me and all my friends from high school meet up at the fair each year,” said fairgoer Enrique Gutierrez. “It’s kind of like our own little high school reunion.”

Day one of the fair featured a musical performance by singer/songwriter Rachel Platten, best known for top ten singles “Fight Song” and “Stand by You.”

Another day one special event was the Tractor Pull, one of the more popular events at the fair where people can come watch heavily modified tractors battle it out in a mauling and muddy tug-of-war.

“We all came out to the fair this year to support our friend who’s competing in the Tractor Pull event tonight,” said fairgoer Elias Futch.

This year’s fair also offers a few new and exciting additions to the fairgrounds. Visitors can explore the virtual world of interactive gaming and pilot their own drone at the Gaming Expo exhibit or check out the High Diving Pirates of the Caribbean Show that features five divers performing Olympic-style dives choreographed by eight-time world record-holding high diver Dana Kunze.

Of course, what county fair would be complete without the inclusion of some barnyard animals? Not only does the fair have an interactive 4-H Farmyard Experience with a walk-in petting zoo but visitors can also check out the Great American Pig Race and root for their favorite oinker to take the checkered flag.  

For a number of local 4-H and FFA exhibitors, opening day was a chance to highlight their livestock at the 49th Annual Replacement Heifer Sale.

 “The 4-H and FFA exhibitors take the upmost care for their animals all year and many of them use the money raised at the Heifer Sale and Junior Livestock Auction for their college fund,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. “I think bidders would find it difficult finding animals that are better fed and better cared for than those exhibited at the Stanislaus County Fair.”

The 51st Annual Junior Livestock Auction will be held on July 16. With over 1,500 4-H and FFA animals entered in the 2016Stanislaus County Fair, this year’s sale and auction are sure to produce an impressive roster of livestock.

Those who missed opening day still have nine days left to enjoy the Stanislaus County Fair. This weekend, the fair will feature the sounds of Night Ranger today and Noel Torres on Sunday on the Bud Light Variety Free Stage, with the FoodMaxx Arena hosting Extreme Rodeo today and Fiesta del Charo on Sunday.

The fairgrounds are located at 900 N. Broadway and open at noon today and Sunday, with exhibit buildings closing at 11 p.m. and the carnival closing at midnight.

Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for ages 65 and up and children age 7 to 12; and free for ages 6 and younger.

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