The 2018 Stanislaus County Fair brought in fewer visitors, but an increase in livestock entry numbers.
Over 230,000 guests visited the Turlock fairgrounds during the Fair’s 10-day run from July 13-22, a 2 percent decrease from 2017 (at 235,000). This year’s attendance was higher than the 220,000 who attended the Fair in 2016, but still 19,000 fewer people than in 2015 when nearly 249,000 people visited the Turlock fairgrounds which was a seven percent increase from 2014 and the highest attendance the fair had seen in the previous 11 years.
"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."
Despite temperatures that averaged 99 degrees and hit a high of 103 for two days throughout the Fair’s run, crowds flocked to the new dinosaur exhibit, Innovation Station and the Bud Light Variety Free Stage for 10 celebrity acts that included John Michael Montgomery, Kool & The Gang, Blue Oyster Cult and Salt n Pepa.
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 4-H, donated all his winning proceeds from the market hog auction to the family of the fallen fire fighter, Braden Varney, of Cal Fire who lost his life battling the blaze at Yosemite National park. Keeney was able to raise $9,862 from the sale auction.
Another success for the 2018 Fair was the 3,090 children who signed up for the Kids Club program and completed educational passports.
Over 22,000 guests also took advantage of the Free ‘Til 3 p.m. discount program on both Sundays.