A fresh-baked cinnamon roll, a buttered ear of corn, a slice of musical entertainment, a walk through the exhibit buildings or the livestock barns, a thrill ride on the midway — the list is long and diverse when discussing the myriad attractions on tap at the Kern County Fair.
But those responsible for booking new and returning attractions to the annual extravaganza are always on the lookout for new avenues to excitement and fun and education for fairgoers.
More than 400,000 attendees of all ages and backgrounds are expected to walk through the gates this year during the fair's 12-day run. And each individual will be looking for fun or excitement or amusement or interest — or all of the above.
"A lot of our new attractions are educational," said fair spokeswoman Janet Sanders. "We go to at least two conferences a year looking for new and fun attractions."
In fact, they're already looking ahead to 2019.
But this week and next are all about Kern County Fair 2018. And here are some new attractions to get you started.
With a little bit of water, sunlight and vision, the farm's edible garden is designed to not only grow healthy produce, but also to broaden the knowledge of everyone who participates, including fair visitors and especially children who haven't been exposed to backyard vegetable gardens.
The edible garden will include three raised vegetable garden plots, one greenhouse, multiple raised beds for Kern County crops and a portable kitchen.
The farm will include interactive agricultural demonstrations during the fair. But the project will offer extended educational experiences for schoolchildren.
More than 6 in 10 Kern County residents are overweight or obese. Research from the American Dietetic Association has shown that children who are involved in edible gardens increase their daily vegetable and fruit consumption by 2.5 servings per day.
BRAD’S WORLD REPTILES
Enter another world at the fair, where reptile handlers present a cold-blooded Creature Feature Extreme exhibit for your fascination and pleasure.
"We expose people to rare and unusual animals in a safe environment that they otherwise would be terrified of," said Brad Tylman, founder of Corvallis, Ore.-based Brad's World Reptiles.
Tylman has decades of experience in wildlife management and as a museum curator, and he just returned from the Alaska State Fair, where some 93,000 people came through his 10-day exhibit.
Expect to see pythons, boas, giant spiders, the largest and smallest species of rattlesnakes, giant frogs, and lots more in an entertaining and educational setting.
MONSTER TRUCKS IN COORS GRANDSTAND (Sept. 22 only)
If reptiles are too terrifying, and their stares are strangely hypnotizing, you might want to sign on for some mindless entertainment.
Get ready! The fair will rock beginning 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, with Monster Truck Thunder, big blown monster trucks, tuff trucks and more.
Another new attraction at the fair this year is Ag-Ventureland, where kids can get a taste of what it's like to rope a steer; milk a cow; go fishing; saddle a horse and try any number of country-friendly activities. For free.
KIDS CAN COOK
Dianne Linderman, also known as “the kid magnet,” brings her 30 years of expertise in working with kids to her new show, Kids Can Cook.
Over the past few generations America has become a fast-food nation where too many kids are no longer exposed to simple, healthy cooking.
Kids Can Cook is an interactive program that introduces youngsters to how much fun and simple it is to create delicious, healthy farm-fresh recipes.
Linderman brings to the table years of experience, showmanship, a love for kids, and her desire to spread the idea that anyone — including children — can cook healthy and delicious food.