Everybody has their list of must-see, must-eat, must-do when it comes to the Kern County Fair. But just as the Ferris wheel turns, each person is ready to share their favorites — to commiserate, debate and plan for the big day(s). Here are a few things that might be worth adding to the list.

Let's eat

Along with annual favorites — a cheeseburger from the veterans group, a JP's Old West cinnamon roll, lamb sandwich from the Basque Club — this year's fair will have some new items it's dishing out. Fans of Disneyland should be excited by the prospect of a Dole Whip-style treat from Udder D-Lite, waffle cone packed with chicken and choice of coleslaw or tater tots from Teen Challenge and Flamin' Hot Cheetos street corn from Noel's Foods. (For other exciting foods, check out the story in this publication.)

Save a little dough

The key to any good fair outing is making sure you've got enough cash to cover the rides, activities and food you've been looking forward to since last year. With the increase in ticket prices and parking up to $12 (adults) and $10, respectively, the need to save may be even greater. That's where the deals come in. 

O'Reilly Auto Parts is offering $7 discount parking vouchers at its nine locations in town while supplies last. A $3 savings? That's a DeMolay corn dog right there. Fellow auto business Les Schwab Tire Centers is offering a $6 voucher good for admission on Sept. 27 (3-9 p.m.). The offer is available while supplies last at the five Bakersfield Les Schwab locations.

The fair is again partnering with Community Action Partnership of Kern Food Bank (CAPK Food Bank) for the Feed the Need canned food drive on Sept. 26. Donate four (or more) canned food items — nonexpired, of course — for a free admission to that day's fair. The deal is good for each person who donates four or more cans.

Free fun for all

Speaking of deals, once you get inside the fairgrounds, you're sure to want to cram as much fun in without emptying your wallet. Among the interesting free attractions:

Stingray encounter: With livestock and other performers fresh off the farm — racing pigs and stampeding turkeys — you might overlook this new exhibition. But these fish are worth checking out. This self-contained traveling exhibit, billed as the world's only, allows visitors of all ages to get up close and personal with the mysterious creatures. The tank appears big enough that if they want to remain a little enigmatic they can keep their distance — unless drawn out by food.

Another is Sudsy's Barn, a fun exploration of personal hygiene. Odd but hear us out: Other than the bathrooms, which may have long lines and cramped space at the sink, where else are you going to get a good chance to wash your hands? You're not fully free of that cream cheese frosting, mustard off the corn dog or spilled beer just because you licked your hand. (Also, ew.) Sidle up next to the kids and get a lesson in good clean living.


If you have kids or are responsible for someone else's while roaming the fairgrounds, you know you'll be headed to the carnival. Along with the usual suspects, there are some new attractions this year including:

The Super Shot Drop Tower is for the thrill-seekers, dropping them along the 90-foot tower in an accelerated freefall with G-forces three and half times their normal thrust.

Don't rely on a dashing dude or dame to sweep you off your feet — let an alien do it. Alien Invasion, spinning at 24 RPM, uses centrifugal force to give passengers the feeling of weightlessness.

Looking for more fun? The Kid Wheel, Firehouse and Jumping Jungle are also sure to deliver new delights. 

We like the Sound of this

There are a number of musical acts vying for your attention at this year's fair but one show should be a real barn burner. Johnny Owens, youngest son of country great Buck Owens, along with his Buck Fever Band will headline a Tribute to the Bakersfield Sound on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The lineup drawing fans to the Coors Grandstand Area is a powerful one, including Ernie Lewis, Jennifer Keel, Zach Arnold, Kyle Appleton and Therese Spanke. If this is a move to start drawing more shows to the fair, in addition to the existing concert lineup, we're all for it.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.