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Local FFA, 4-H busy in Turlock
Morgan Den Dulk, a member of Hughson Future Farmers of America (FFA), shows her goat during a Stanislaus County Fairs market show. Morgan took third place with the 91-pounder. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Hundreds of Ceres and Hughson youth are enjoying their first half of the Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock - and so far temperatures that have held to the lower 90's.

Ceres 4-H member Cooper Scarborough won Supreme Champion rabbit meat pen and Grand Champion 4-H meat pen. Savannah Haas won Reserve Champion 4-H meat pen.

On Monday, Hughson FFA member Morgan Den Dulk took third place with her 91-pound goat.

Ceres 4-H have a number of rabbits and chickens entered in the Fair along with project exhibits.

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."

For the 105th time the Stanislaus County Fair opened its gates Friday. Local residents were already enjoying what the fair has to offer.

"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.

On Saturday evening Night Ranger performed hits like "Sister Christian" and on Sunday Noel Torres performed on the Budweiser Free Stage. Salt-N-Peppa performed on Monday followed by Parmalee performing on Tuesday.

Chaka Khan has cancelled her Wednesday evening performance. Representatives for Chaka Khan announced that she entered an addiction rehabilitation and aftercare program which will cause her to postpone all dates scheduled for July. Chaka has struggled with a dependence on prescription pain medications and has voluntarily entered the program to get healthy and stay that way.

She will be replaced by Jody Wately and Shalamar. Watley is one of music's prominent visionaries and style icons brings a newly reloaded Shalamar with new members Nate Allen Smith and renowned choreographer/dancer and vocalist Rosero McCoy to the stage. She's combining Shalamar songs as part of her new set-list inspired by her retro-futuristic new album Paradise, fusing the group's patented sound (rich harmonies, soulful melodies, and funky moves) with her own iconic hits, making their shoes more of an experience than a concert.
Country music powerhouse Dwight Yoakam will perform at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Kellie Pickler will take the stage on Friday.

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 - held at 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the weekends and 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday - and root for their favorite oinker to take the checkered flag.

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

Those who missed opening day still have five days left to enjoy the Stanislaus County Fair.

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.

Visitors to the Fair can park on the fairgrounds or take advantage of the free park and ride bus from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Park free and ride free from CSU Stanislaus (Crowell off Monte Vista) and/or Pitman High (Christoffersen Way). Shuttles run every 15 to 20 minutes to/from the Fair's Arch Gate.

Discounts on admission tickets are also available during the 10-day run of the Fair. Below are discounts and promotions for the Fair:

Wednesday, July 13:

• First 1,000 guests receive gifts from Real California Milk.

Thursday, July 14:

• Kids 12 and under admitted free with the first 1,000 kids receiving gifts from Sutter Memorial Medical Center.
• Donate one or more toys to The Salvation Army and receive two free carnival ride tickets.
Friday, July 15:

• First 1,000 guests receive gifts from Modesto Nuts.

Saturday, July 16:

• Senior Day - Seniors 65 and older admitted free and the first 1,000 guests receive gifts from Valley First Credit Union.

Sunday, July 17:

• Free until 3 p.m. All guests are admitted free until 3 p.m. sponsored by FOX40.

• First 1,000 guests receive gifts from Corona.

Taco Bell will be offering a $3 off one adult admission with every meal (at participating Taco Bell locations) purchased July 11-15.

The public is invited to stop by Stanislaus County Office of Education's (SCOE) booth at the fair on Wednesday, July 13 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to meet members of the Stanislaus County Board of Education and County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon. The Superintendent and the five elected board members (Mary Ann Sanders, Alice Pollard, Kim Rose, Kim Spina and Bob Vizzolini) are responsible for making major policy decisions in the area of budgeting, curriculum, and advance planning for the County Office of Education. The superintendent and board members will be available to answer questions and provide information about SCOE. This year, the fair runs Friday, July 8 through Sunday, July 17.

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