It's not every day that you can enjoy a massive carnival, an array of food and drink, concerts by national recording artists, livestock shows and cars slamming into each other just for the spectacle of it, all in one huge place.
In fact, you can only enjoy it 10 days a year in Stanislaus County, and those 10 days are just around the corner. The Stanislaus County Fair kicks off on an otherwise ominous date, Friday, July 13 — but don't worry, they'll turn it into a good omen, according to Adrenna Alkhas, fair marketing and communication director.
"We're actually having fun with it," Alkhas said, by switching it up with a lucky-day giveaway. The fair will be giving away whimsical items to counterbalance the traditional unlucky superstition, such as Lucky Charms and fortune cookies, with some of the latter containing free fair tickets.
Other fun experiences will go on during the entire 10-day run. Among the most notable will be a new dinosaur exhibit that includes and 15-foot T-Rex, Alkhas said. The robotic exhibit focuses on several vignettes that portray the lives of dinosaurs, based on paleontological discoveries.
Also there this year will be an Innovation Station where kids can enjoy a variety of hands-on educational science activities. The 4-H Farm Yard will feature a safari exhibit that will feature African agriculture and how it compares to the same here.
"Kids can get an idea of different cultures and different agricultures and how it compares to the ag in the Central Valley," Alkhas said.
Among some of the fair's top musical acts this year are country singer Trace Adkins (July 16), pop group Lifehouse (July 18), classic rockers Blue Oyster Cult (July 17) and old-school hip-hop stars Salt-N-Pepa (July 19).
In the Arena, there will be all the muscle and mayhem that fairgoers have come to love, from monster trucks to tractor pulls, a rodeo and, yes, the ever-popular Destruction Derby.
Opening the Bud Light Variety Free Stage on Friday is country singer John Michael Montgomery while in the Arena, the WGAS Tractor Pull gets underway.
Here are some details on the stage and arena events planned:
Variety Free Stage
All of the Free Stage events begin at 8:30 p.m. The shows are all free with fair admission.
Friday, July 13: John Michael Montgomery
Saturday, July 14: Kool & The Gang
Sunday, July 15: La Septima Banda
Monday, July 16: Trace Adkins
Tuesday, July 17: Blue Oyster Cult
Wednesday, July 18: Lifehouse
Thursday, July 19: Salt-N-Pepa
Friday, July 20: Easton Corbin
Saturday, July 21: Grand Funk Railroad
Sunday, July 22: Pablo Montero
All of the Arena events begin at 6:30 p.m. There are ticket prices for most of the events in addition to fair entry.
Friday, July 13: WGAS Tractor Pull I, $8-$10
Saturday, July 14: WGAS Tractor Pull II, $8-$10
Sunday, July 15: Gold Coast Bucking Bulls, free
Monday, July 16: Destruction Derby I, $10-$12
Tuesday, July 17: Destruction Derby II, $10-$12
Wednesday, July 18: Humpz & Hornz MX Rodeo, $5
Thursday, July 19: Humpz & Hornz Extreme Rodeo Games, $8-$10
Friday, July 20: Monster Truck I, $8-$10
Saturday, July 21: Monster Truck II, $8-$10
Sunday, July 22: Motocross Racing, $8-$10
WHEN: 5 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday; noon-midnight Saturdays-Sundays. Through July 22
WHERE: Stanislaus County Fairground, 900 N. Broadway, Turlock
TICKETS: $12, $7 ages 7-12, free ages 6 and under