Despite some hot temperatures, attendance at the Stanislaus County Fair was 16 percent higher than 2018 crowds.
The 108th Stanislaus County Fair drew over 260,000 guests during its 10-day run July 12-21.
An indication that the country’s economy is doing better, fair concession sales were up nine percent and Butler Amusement, the fair ride operator, was up 2.5 percent compared to 2018.
“This year was good overall year with a lot of people coming out for the diverse entertainment,” said Matt Cranford, chief executive officer of the Stanislaus County Fair. “We were able to provide and enjoyed the beautiful weather during the 10-day Fair.”
Guests enjoyed the Fair’s Free ‘Til 3 p.m. on Sundays. Over 47,000 guests took advantage on both Sundays to attend the Fair for free until 3 p.m.
Highlights of the 2019 Fair included Jeff Goldblum visiting to film his new show called “The Curiosity of Jeff Goldblum” with National Geographic. Filming took place inside the FoodMaxx Arena, while Goldblum discussed the history of motorhomes and took part in the motorhome derby event.
A total of 3,590 children signed up for the Kids Club program and completed educational passports for a chance to win four Legoland tickets from KAT.
Nearly 30,000 individual entries were exhibited at the Fair, from orchids and quilts to rabbits and market hogs.
Livestock increased in entry numbers with total gross sale of animals sold at the fair auctions exceeding over $1.3 million. Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H members sold 98 heifers at the 51st Annual Replacement Heifer Sale, grossing $305,650, or $3,151 per head. Supreme Champion was Isabella Pires, from Wood Colony 4-H, selling her heifer at $10,500. Reserve Supreme Champion was Kylie Kriese, from Gregori FFA, selling her heifer at $5,000.
The 55th Annual Junior Livestock Auction grossed $1,064,082 for FFA and 4-H members. Sold at auction were 26 rabbits, 179 goats, 146 sheep, 365 swine, and 53 steers. The 55th Annual Market Beef auction grossed at $295,987.
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.
The fair offered 10 free celebrity concerts on the Coors Light Variety Free Stage. They were High Valley, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Ulices Chaidez, Maddie & Tae, En Vogue, Clay Walker, Marshall Tucker Band, Magic!, 98 Degrees and Roberto Tapia.
“The true mark of a fair’s success is in the positive exhibitor participation and making sure our guests are happy,” said Alkhas. “Our exhibits program is a staple at our fair going down so many generations of families exhibiting at the fair. We are very proud of our exhibit program and it is what sets us apart from other Fairs in the state.”
The last night of the Fair’s run ended in mayhem, however, when a large fight broke out after one of the beer booths closed early. Four sheriff’s deputies were injured, five people arrested and one horse punched in the rear.
The injuries sustained by the deputies ranged from scrapes and bruises to a dislocated shoulder, said Stanislaus County Sheriff spokesman Sgt. Josh Clayton. During the fight one of the sheriff’s mounted patrol horses, Maximus, was punched in the hindquarters. According to the sheriff’s department, Maximus is already recovering and “still committed to serving justice and will not be dissuaded in his efforts. The deputies are doing just fine also.”