With the Stanislaus County Fair just around the corner and residents from all over the Central Valley gearing up for twisting rides and fried foods, excitement is on the rise high.
The eagerness to get the fair underway is even higher for the newly appointed Stanislaus County Fair Chief Executive Officer Matthew Cranford, who is a Ceres native.
Having grown up in the Central Valley and graduated from California State University, Stanislaus, Cranford's deep-rooted connection to the area made him an obvious choice for the position.
"It's exciting, with the fair this size and everything we do to prepare, it's definitely a big part of the community," said Cranford.
Cranford started out by working at the San Mateo County Fair in 2008 where just a year later he was promoted to Fair Manager.
Being at the helm for the Stanislaus County Fair however has presented Cranford with an entirely new set of hurdles to overcome before gates open July 8.
"The most challenging part is every little thing that goes into it especially getting a solid grasp on everything that goes into organizing all the organizations from community to nonprofits," said Cranford. "It's refreshing to see groups that want to be a part of the fair and give back to the community."
This year's fair looks to not only bring back fairgoer favorites like concerts and carnival rides, but include a few new exhibits as well.
"We've added new entertainment for family and kids including exhibits for high diving, drones and video games, as well as other technology based entertainment," said Cranford.
Even Cranford himself admitted to having a weakness for what is perhaps the greatest crowd pleaser at the fair: the food.
"The food is definitely my favorite part," said Cranford. "Now being a father, I like bringing my daughter to the fair to try all of the different items that come on a stick. This might be a cliché, but it's always fun watching people try new fair food for the first time."
Born in 1978, Cranford moved to Ceres in the second grade. He attended Ceres schools and graduated from the Central Valley Christian Academy in Ceres in 1998.
The Stanislaus County Fair will take place starting July 8-17. For more information regarding tickets prices or the dozens of other exhibits happening this year, you can go online to stancofair.com.