Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fair goes on despite drought, budget woes


Visitors to the 2013 Yolo County Fair enjoyed a spin on the carousel .Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

From page A1 | August 10, 2014 |

Longing for a swirl of sticky-sweet cotton candy or the rumble of cars revving up for the destruction derby? You don’t have to wait much longer: Yolo County Fair gates will swing open on Wednesday, Aug. 13, heralding the start of the five-day, fare-free affair.

If you can’t wait until mid-week, head to the fairgrounds early Sunday, Aug. 10, for the Junior Horse Show and announcement of the Junior Horse Queen, but the fair kicks off in earnest Wednesday evening.

“Fair Nights and Carnival Lights” will be ushered in by the traditional Yolo County Bounty Gala, which showcases local food, wine and agriculture. Tickets are $20 at the gate, but take $5 off if you buy them from the fair office beforehand. The office is at 1125 East St. in Woodland.

After the gala, travel back in time with the antique tractor and firefighting exhibits or sit back with your sweetie and listen to the crooning of 21-year-old Kyle Rowland and his blues band.

The fair will showcase all of the local favorites: the destruction derby, the idol contest, crafts for kids, livestock and Master Gardener exhibits.

“We try to stay true to our roots,” said Rita Moore, the fair’s CEO. “This isn’t our first rodeo.”

While this year looks to be as popular as ever, the grass has looked greener for the fair. Fairgrounds staff have had to cut back on their water use due to the drought, and the fair hasn’t seen state funding since Gov. Jerry Brown removed it from the budget in 2011. The fairgrounds generate revenue through facilities rentals for parties, carnivals and weddings throughout the year — the show must go on.

Thursday is Senior Day, and residents of convalescent homes are invited to the exhibits in the morning before they open to the public in the afternoon. Later, you may not be judged by Simon Cowell, but Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once, from a song by a rapper named Drake), so take the stage for the yearly singing contest at 6 p.m. Radio and TV personality Jose Reynoso will emcee. Future Farmers of America will exhibit goats, swine and birds throughout the day.

Friday, the destruction derby crashes into town, continuing on to Saturday when mini trucks will be allowed to compete for the first time. Sunday wraps up with the last of the livestock awards and retro night, to take you back to your roots.

By the end of the weekend, 140,000 visitors will have enjoyed the fair, chowing down on tacos and barbecue, spinning on dizzying carnival rides, and getting crafty at Hands-On Science.

“We have people who plan their vacation to come here. We’re not Disneyland but there are people who love us,” Moore said. “We’re like a family reunion.”

Find the full schedule at, and learn more at the

— Reach Elizabeth Case at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow her on Twitter at @elizabeth_case



Elizabeth Case

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