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County Fair sparks memories of old, ignites new wonders
fair8 Reese Donaldson 5years old Ceres
Reese Donaldson, 5, of Ceres sails down the slide during the first night of the fair. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR/The Courier

When Waterford resident Janet Bonner walked over to the livestock arena to see her son Kevin show his pig, not only did she have some parental pride, she was flooded with nostalgia during her own times showing at the Stanislaus County Fair 20 years ago.

"I used to show sheep at the fair during my grammar and high school years," said Bonner. "I've also seen my three children showcase their animals from the time they were little kids until they reached high school. It's an indescribable feeling. It's amazing to be here every year."

For the Bonner family, the Stanislaus County Fair has been an annual tradition celebrated for over three decades. And for thousands of other fairgoers on opening night, the 2013 Stanislaus County Fair was a moment to cherish and a night to remember.

"It's all about the corn dogs," said Jeffery Hilvers of Turlock, next in line for the tasty treat.

For first time fairgoer Anne Smolko, the fair was all about the animals. A Pennsylvania resident who was raised in the city, Smolko is spending the summer with her best friend and got her first taste of the fair's strong farming community.

"I didn't realize there was such a strong agriculture element to this area," said Smolko. "I've been a city girl my entire life and the only farming animals I see are in the movies. It's refreshing to be in a community where farming and agriculture is strong."

Inside the fair's hall, local dignitaries worked to judge this year's "Dr. Dubyak's All-American Apple Pie Contest," which benefits the United Samaritans Foundation.
"I wish I could get a slice of that pie," said Turlock resident Isaac Myers as the aroma of apple pie filled the entire room.

Over at the Budweiser Variety Free Stage, seats were steadily filling with Clay Walker fans, including Jake Cooper of Newman.

"Been a fan of Clay since he dropped his single ‘Live Until I Die'," said Cooper. "I'm going to rock out when he plays that song."

For the children and their families, watching a dozen canines and their seemingly impossible high-flying stunts during the K9 Kings dog show, was the cherry on top of a perfect day.

"Those dogs were awesome," said 8 year-old Bryan Barriga. "They could practically fly."

The Stanislaus County Fair will run until July 21. Admission prices are $12 for adults, $5 for senior citizens 65 or older, and $5 for children 7 through 12. Children ages 6 and under are free.

On Sunday and July 21, all guests will be admitted to the fair for free from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The Stanislaus County Fair will also provide a shuttle bus for free. Guests can park for free at California State University, Stanislaus or at Pitman High School and ride for free to and from the fair's arch gate entrance. The shuttle service will run from 4:30 p.m. until 12 a.m. Monday through Friday as well as from 11:30 a.m. until 12 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Shuttles departs every 15 minutes.

For people looking for an interactive fair experience in the palm of their hands, guests can download the official "StanCoFair" Mobile App. The app will feature an interactive map of the fairgrounds, daily fair schedules and keep guests up to date with each day's discounts. Search "StanCoFair" through an Android or Iphone.