Stanislaus fair heads into final weekend with lots to see

mrowland@modbee.comJuly 19, 2013 

— As the Stanislaus County Fair heads into its final weekend, more than just the weather will be heating up.

The last two days of the fair will feature all the traditional attractions — live music, carnival rides, children's activities and fried treats — as well as the culmination of the FFA and 4-H livestock programs.

Temperatures today and Sunday are expected to break 100 degrees for the first time during the fair's 10-day run. Still, the hot close to the fair shouldn't dampen enthusiasm for the various livestock auctions and showmanship judging.

The action kicks off this morning with the 49th annual junior livestock auctions for hogs, sheep and goats beginning at 8 a.m. For the first time, the hog auction will be split from the sheep and goat sales and run almost simultaneously.

Fair Livestock Superintendent John Mendes said the change was made to save time and move the process along more smoothly. In past years, he said, the auction has run almost 12 hours.

FFA and 4-H members getting ready for the auctions after a week at the fair said they're both excited and a little sad.

"This is the part I don't enjoy, letting her go to auction," said Kyleigh Hamilton, with Waterford FFA. "This is the hard part."

This is the second year the 16-year-old has brought a market lamb to the fair. She has had her lamb, Cavella, since March and competed in market and showmanship with her.

In a nearby pen, Morgan Gravatt and her friend Jordynn Cushenberry, both with Hughson 4-H, were attending their lambs. This is the first year showing for both the 10-year-olds, though they've been coming to the fair since as long as they can remember. The auction also will be their first.

"I'm nervous," Morgan said. "But I've just loved having a little animal."

Some 2,000 animals were shown at the fair this year, a 7 percent to 8 percent increase from the previous year, said Mendes. The livestock programs have grown steadily in the past few years, requiring some modifications to the barns and schedule to accommodate all the entrants.

A few rows of the sheep barn had concrete floors installed in March to allow for an overflow of swine, which have grown greatly in popularity recently. Four years ago, the fair had about 300 pigs; 600 are on site this year.

"We're taking up every square inch here with the animals, believe me," Mendes said.

Judging for the small animal master showmanship — a best-of-show contest for the rabbits and poultry champions — will be at 7 tonight. On Sunday, master showmanship judging will be done for horses, cattle, goats, hogs and sheep starting at 10 a.m.

An awards assembly will close out the livestock program at 1 p.m.

Hughson 4-H member Gianna Hill also is participating in her first fair. The 12-year-old said she is sad about letting her pig, Elliott, go to auction, but has enjoyed her fair experience.

"I've been here a lot and met a lot of people," she said. "It's been fun."

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.The final weekend of the Stanislaus County Fair starts today, so be sure to stop by for your last chance of the season to get in on the fun.

Today at the fair

The final weekend of the Stanislaus County Fair starts today, so be sure to stop by for your last chance of the season to get in on the fun.

• WHAT TO DO: The 49th annual junior livestock auctions for hogs, sheep and goats will start at 8 a.m., followed by the sale of the champions in each category.

• HIGHLIGHTS: Do you have a train lover in your family? Check out the San Joaquin Valley Toy Train Operators' first building exhibit, open from noon to 11 p.m. all weekend.

• VARIETY FREE STAGE: Gloriana, 8:30 p.m.

• ARENA: Motocross/ quadcross and pee wee bikes, 6:30 p.m., $10

• CENTER STAGE: Cowgirl Rope Tricks, 2 and 4 p.m; Tiki Lounge Lizards, 5:30-7:45 p.m.; Tony and the TUFF Times, 8-10:30 p.m.

• COMMUNITY STAGE: Skye and The Clouds, 1:30-3 p.m, Kickstart, 3:30-5 p.m.; Ninety Niners, 6-7:30 p.m.; Kaidain, 8-9:30 p.m.

• XFINITY STAGE: JD Platt & K9 Kings, 12:30, 3 and 5 p.m.; Lucky Starr, Cowgirl Stiltwalker, noon and 5 p.m.

• HOURS: Gates open at noon; exhibit buildings close at 11 p.m.; carnival closes at midnight.

• PARK 'N' RIDE: 11:30 a.m. to midnight; park and ride free from CSU, Stanislaus (Crowell Road off Monte Vista Avenue), or Pitman High School (Christoffersen Parkway). Shuttles run every 15 to 20 minutes.

• WHERE: From Highway 99, exit at Fulkerth Road in Turlock and head east. For fairgrounds parking, turn right on Soderquist Road, or go past Soderquist for more parking; $5 per vehicle.

• ADMISSION: $12 for adults, $5 for children 7 to 12 and seniors 65 and older, free for 6 and younger.

• INFORMATION: www.stancofair.com, (209) 668-1333

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