Every September, when the Kern County Fair rolls into town, the air is filled with the sound of music and games and the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls and funnel cakes. Now, in its 101st season, it is the “ticket to fun.”

Running from Sept. 20 through Oct. 1, the mission for the Kern County Fair is “creating a friendly environment for an educational, culture and entertainment experience,” said Jeannie Burton, supervisor for commercial, exhibits, concessions and facility rental. It celebrates the accomplishments of the entire community.

Burton said the No. 1 reason patrons come each year is the food, of course. Many favorites, include the classics, such as barbecue, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, pizza and the Mexican food in the Villa Festiva corner.

Aside from tradition, there are plenty of new treats to try, including the Dole whip floats and fresh fruit bowls at Udder Delite Ice Cream, deep-fried fruit punch and maple and bacon funnel cakes at Toucan locations, Flaming Hot Cheetos corn (dipped on the cob) at Noel’s Mexican, and stuffed chicken waffle cones and homemade cinnamon bun waffles at Teen Challenge.

Burton says attendees are also drawn to the free entertainment that the fair provides at the Budweiser Pavilion stage and around the grounds. This year’s lineup, includes a few of music’s superstars from yesterday and today: War; country artists Montgomery Gentry, LeAnn Rimes, and Old Dominion; pop acts Smash Mouth, En Vogue, Sheila E.; and a slew of various local artists.

This year, the Grand Sierra Stage will host piano vocal performers and music with a mix of comedy and entertainment, following the trend of the dueling pianos bit.

Not to worry, though, many classic shows and attractions are back, including the hypnotist, turkey races, pony rides, the mechanical bull, camel rides and more.

New to the fair this year are the acrobats in the Ramos Bros. Circus – juggling, high-flying daredevilry, clown antics and performance routines, and dancing poodles taking place four times a day.

If ocean life is an interest to attendees, they can visit the all-day Stingray Encounter exhibit, which allows fairgoers to view, touch and feed the stingrays. Visitors can purchase food for $3.

The acrobats of Hebei, China, “masters of agility and grace,” will also be performing a show at the Grand Sierra Stage, combining Chinese traditions with acrobatics.

Kern County residents also have the opportunity to enter their collections, hobbies and more in a variety of contests at the Competitive Exhibit.

Still, Exhibit Supervisor Patt Sandrini said the Hobby and Model Department is “always a favorite. New items appear each year. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t.”

The photography section is one of the largest displays at the fair, hanging around 1,200 photos each year. Other departments include floriculture; decorative painting; creative arts and the culinary department, hosting the hot wings, K.C. chili and baking contests.

Burton hopes they create a “fun, positive experience” and that attendees will anticipate the 2018 fair.

For more information, including the full schedule of dates, times and a complete list of performers, exhibits and more, visit kerncountyfair.com. 

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