The 10-day fair — which kicks off Friday, July 13 — features attractions that range from a farmyard exhibit for young fairgoers to a “relaxation station” for seniors.
Motorsports, rodeo events and a variety of live entertainment options are scheduled to amuse attendees of all ages.
Musical performers include country star LeAnn Rimes, classic rock band Foreigner and former Poison frontman and reality TV star Bret Michaels.
“We try to target every demographic,” said fair spokeswoman Adrenna Alkhas this week as organizers prepared for opening day.
Wonders for children, adults
Among the exhibits geared toward expanding the imagination are the returning Lowe’s Playhouse and Kids’ Make-and-Take Project Zone, where children can play in a cottage-style playhouse and create their own home décor by painting tiles and potting plants.
An area dubbed “Imagine the Food” will provide a display of how the Seven-Up Bottling Company in Modesto uses technology during its production. Food samples and demonstrations from a variety of Turlock and Modesto restaurants will also be offered.
The 4-H Farmyard Experience will show how food is produced before it gets in the hands of processors. Kids can see live bees produce honey and view an egg display with hatching chicks.
Fairgoers can also learn about local farming at the new AgVenture Land, which showcases Central Valley crops, farm machinery and hands-on exhibits for children.
Kidz Club, a new addition for 2012, also offers things to do for children ages 4 to 12.
Each participant will receive a tote bag filled with goodies and a passport postcard to travel around the fair. By answering questions about subjects such as history and livestock, children can have their passports stamped by participating vendors for a chance to win tickets to theme parks and attractions throughout Northern California.
The fair’s popular Rainforest Adventure exhibit will return, with an 8,000-square-foot rainforest atmosphere containing toucans, anacondas, snapping turtles and geckos, among other creatures. Alkhas noted it takes organizers about a month to prepare the display.
Visitors also can check out a native Californian habitat at the returning 7,000-square-foot Wetlands Exhibit.
Other family attractions include daily performances by K9 Kings Flying Dog Show with J.D. Platt, in which the former professional snowboarder shows off dogs who perform high-flying stunts with flying discs.
Dog tricks and other big-top antics can also be seen at the Charter Family Fun Stage, where the Jest in Time Circus will give daily performances. The troupe is known for zany acts that include dueling toilet-paper blowers and flying pizzas.
Plenty to eat
Speaking of pizza, fair organizers said food should continue to be a big draw. A variety of ethnic dishes, such as Mexican specialties, Chinese food and German sausage, will be available, as will corn dogs, cotton candy and other fairgrounds staples.
New vendors this year include crepe maker Crepe Au Jardin and the Chocolate Factory booth, which will serve strawberries, pretzels, bacon and other treats dipped in chocolate.
Another new booth, sponsored by the Modesto Junior College baseball team, will prepare eggs, potatoes, ham and sausage in the morning and salad, tortellini and spaghetti and meatballs at night.
Motorsports enthusiasts will have plenty to cheer about during the tractor pulls and the ever-popular Destruction Derby.
The destruction derby features a real-life bumper cars scenario during which the goal is to remain the last car running. In addition to the Traditional Turmoil event on Friday, a Metal Mayhem event will run Saturday, July 14. The latter event will feature specialized classes, such as subcompact vehicles, powder puff (female participants only), lightweight (1980 and newer vehicles) and ’60s and ’70s heavyweight.
Alkhas noted that the Friday night event sells out every year.
The county fair’s annual rodeo, hosted by the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association, also continues to be a big draw.
The rodeo, planned for Thursday, July 19, will feature bull riding, steer roping and wrestling, and bareback riding, among other competitions.
Performances of all types
A variety of live entertainment acts also will fill up the 10-day event, including Grammy Award-winning country singer LeAnn Rimes, who will perform July 21; pop and country star Uncle Kracker, who will serve up hits July 19; former American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler, who will perform Monday; and 30-year-old band Sawyer Brown, which will perform the opening night of the fair Friday. Other well-known names include classic rock band Foreigner, which will play Saturday, July 14, and Bret Michaels, the former lead singer of the hair metal band Poison, who has pursued a solo career in recent years.
Latino music performers Diego Verdaguer and Amanda Miguel will wrap up the fair’s entertainment July 22, while R&B groups Mumbo Gumbo and ZuSu Pitts Memorial Orchestra will headline during a “Fairapalooza” event Sunday, July 15.
Fans of the local music scene also can check out Patterson country music artist Kelly McDonald, who will perform with his band from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. Sunday on the fair’s CenCal Stage.
Young fairgoers may be most interested in The Wiggles, a group of Australian entertainers who have served up their fun and educational brand of music and television offerings since 1991.
A unique addition to this year’s fair lineup is The Peking Acrobats, a group of Chinese gymnasts that has become world renowned for balancing and contortion.
The acrobatics group’s performance and all concerts are free with admission to the fair.
Fairgoers can benefit from deals throughout the duration of the fair.
The bargains begin with free admission Friday for all attendees who are named Jason — in honor of the hockey-masked villain from the “Friday the 13th” film series — in addition to a fortune cookie giveaway to the first 1,000 people to arrive. Some of the cookies will have free fair passes inside.
The fair will again offer free admission from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays.
Organizers are offering up other promotions, too. In one instance, the fair is teaming up with Kaiser Permanente, which is encouraging patrons to use the free Every Body Walk mobile phone application, which allows users to count their steps at the fair. Patrons can submit their results at the Kaiser Permanente booth on opening day for a prize.
Fun with technology
Kaiser Permanente is also giving away a free iPad for the best “Dance Walk” video. Fairgoers are challenged to record a video of themselves dance walking at the fair, either alone or with friends and family, and upload it to the fair’s Facebook or YouTube sites. The new mobile phone app for the Stanislaus County Fair is another way fair organizers are trying to reach a younger crowd, Alkhas said.
“We’ve really tried to engage people through technology,” she said.
People can sign up to receive text messages with updated information about the fair by texting “FAIR” to 99299.
Both the StanCoFair mobile app and the “Every Body Walk” app can be found in the iPhone and Android app stores.