Many fairgoers treasure the traditions their families have established at the Kern County Fair.
For some, the day just wouldn't be complete without a walk through the livestock barns. For others, a cinnamon roll or a buttered ear of corn helps make the fair palatable.
But many also keep an eye out for something different. And this year's fair may have the "something different" they're looking for.
Jeannie Burton, who books new and returning acts to the fair, said for many area residents, the 12-day event is a rare chance to enjoy the eclectic combination of entertainment, food, exhibits — all in a fun carnival atmosphere.
"We try and bring something new and different each year," she said.
And she starts early.
"We're already working on 2018."
Here are some new attractions to get you started this year.
The Beverly Belles (Main Plaza Stage): In the mood for classic beauties singing timeless melodies? Their retro polka-dot dresses, vintage hairstyles and classic Andrews Sisters-style harmonies should make the Beverly Belles one of the most popular new draws at the Kern County Fair this year. We could have sworn we saw their pin-ups painted on the outside of a B-17 bomber. If you tap your foot to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" or "Chattanooga Choo Choo," these Beverlys are your Belles.
Kids Pedal Tractor Pull (Calico Corner): A unique family experience designed for kids ages 4-12, the pedal tractor pull first teaches youngsters the basics of several simple machines. Then the real fun begins as the budding tractor drivers pedal down a 25-foot track towing a weight-transfer sled in hopes of reaching the finals. Everyone gets a prize.
Stingray Encounter (KC Loop): Billed as the world's only traveling, self-contained stingray exhibit, Stingray Encounter includes several stingrays — stingers removed — for safe viewing and touching. Yes, Virginia, you can now pet a stingray.
Sudsy's Barn (KC Farm): This stop is a great way to make it fun for kids to wash their hands — and after eating cotton candy or a sticky cinnamon roll, it may come in hand-y for the entire family. No spoilers, though. Let's just say animals talk to the young ones, and they love it. Good clean fun.
Great American Duck Race (Calico Corner): This ain't no rubber ducky race. The Great American Duck Race features real live waterfowl skimming fast across the surface of real water. With four to five shows a day, and each show lasting 15 to 20 minutes, there will be plenty of opportunities to spectate and, yes, participate. And guess what? Your kids will learn a few things, too.
The Magic Bean (KC Farm): Fusion Talent Group presents The Magic Bean, an agriculture magic show with attitude. A blend of education and entertainment — with a theme of "from the farm to the kitchen" — the show includes lots of of magic, comedy and audience participation, all with the notion of teaching city kids about farming and where our food comes from.
Ramos Brothers Circus (KC Loop): Step right up, folks, for dazzling acrobatics, mind-boggling juggling, high-flying daredevilry, and gleeful clown antics. The circus is in town — or to be more precise, the Ramos Brothers Circus — and it's going to be, er ... a total circus!
Chinese Acrobats of Hebei (Grand Sierra Stage): The acrobats of Hebei will combine authentic Chinese props, stunning costumes, a musical soundtrack, Chinese traditions, and of course jaw-dropping acrobatics at this year's Kern County Fair. Watch for Hoop Diving and the dramatic performance of a female contortionist who balances crystal while performing her act. Another highlight is the comical lion performance, featuring costumed performers as colorful red and gold Chinese Lions. The acrobats also perform demonstrations in martial arts, bungee, hand balance and chair stacking, creating a show that's fast-moving and always entertaining.
Piano Madness (Grand Sierra Stage): The dueling pianos of JC and Alejandro are equal parts entertaining and interactive. At one of their shows you're likely to hear any number of hit tunes and popular selections, but don't be surprised to be blown away by a classical or jazzy number. The highlight of the show may be when people in the audience send up requests, putting the dueling pianists on the spot. Guess what? These guys may know nearly every song ever written.
For more information, visit kerncountyfair.com.