More attendees at Stanislaus County Fair this year

mrowland@modbee.comJuly 26, 2013 

Folks enter through the historic arch gate entrance, originally constructed in 1929, during the opening of the 2013 Stanislaus County Fair Friday evening (07-12-13).

ELIAS FUNEZ — Modesto Bee Buy Photo

Attendance was up at this year's Stanislaus County Fair, bolstered by new attractions and traditional favorites.

This year nearly 229,000 people attended the fair during its 10-day run, a 5 percent increase from 2012.

"It was a great combination of entertainment, agricultural education, and just plain fun," said Chris Borovansky, chief executive officer of the Stanislaus County Fair, in a statement about this year's events. "The fair at its core is a special event for the community."

The new family attraction Wizard's Challenge, an interactive science exhibit, was a hit with visitors, organizers said. Other additions included a toy train exhibit and an on-site farmers market.

Relatively mild weather, with temperatures cracking 100 degrees only on the final weekend, helped attendance. Organizers reported continued success with the Park 'N Ride program, which shuttles people to the fair from free parking sites at no charge. More than 15,000 people used the service, up from 13,000 the previous year.

Old-fashioned favorites helped attract crowds and participants. Nearly 30,000 individual entries were exhibited, including more than 3,700 floriculture exhibits and 2,100 photography exhibits.

"The exhibit program is what sets us apart from other fairs in the state," said Adrenna Alkhas, fair spokeswoman. "It is about the community joining together for this one event."

The livestock program also grew this year, with more than 2,000 animals — cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and more — shown as part of the 4-H and FFA programs.

Total gross sales of the various livestock auctions exceeded $1.1 million. That's also up from the previous year. The largest auction, the Junior Livestock Auction, grossed $606,368, an increase of 15 percent. Four poultry pens, 43 rabbits, 103 goats, 190 sheep and 438 swine were sold.

Modesto FFA member Tony Garcia was named Supreme Champion and sold his heifer for $6,500. Reserve Supreme Champion Lane Wheeler, from Turlock FFA, sold his heifer for $4,100.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.

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