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Top 20 things to do at the Sonoma County Fair

Caramel covered apples at the Sonoma County Fair (courtesy of Sonoma County Fair)

Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 4:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 4:03 p.m.

The Sonoma County Fair is just around the corner, with 16 days of fair magic starting Thursday, July 25 and running through Sunday, August 11 (closed Mondays). There are so many great things to do and see, it's often hard to choose, so this Top 20 list of old favorites and new attractions will help you plan some “Home Spun Fun”! Be sure to get your tickets early because pre-sale admission savings are only available through July 24. So now is the time to plan new family traditions and make lasting fair-time memories with these great exhibits and activities:

1. TOUR THE HALL OF FLOWERS

Enter the magical land of the Hall of Flowers, with eleven masterly crafted vignettes designed on the theme, “backyard blossoms”. See it first at the Grand Opening Celebration, July 24 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

2. CHEER ON YOUR FAVORITE HORSE OR JOCKEY

Come enjoy the thrill of live horse racing on one of California's most beautiful tracks. Sit in on a free racing seminar, bet on the ponies, or cheer on your favorite small pup during the Derby Dog Dash.

3. GET DOWN IN THE DIRT IN CHRIS BECK ARENA

It's down in the dirt fun at the Chris Beck Arena! This year we have five amazing shows to choose from. The PRCA Rodeo (July 27), Flat Track Motorcycle Races (August 2), Destruction Derby (August 3) or the Monster Trucks (August 10 or 11). Arena shows require an additional ticket purchase.

4. DANCE YOUR FEET OFF WITH FREE, LIVE MUSIC

All around the grounds, you can hear the sound of music. From oldies to country to rock, blues, Hawaiian, folk and swing, you can enjoy free live music all afternoon and well into the evening every day of Fair. Catch local favorites like the California Cowboys, Pride & Joy and Wonder Bread 5.

5. LEARN TO YODEL AND HOLD A BUTTERFLY

There is no end to the entertainment that we have lined up for the whole family. Kick up your heals with Sourdough Slim, the "one man Western extravaganza", participate in the Magic Circus, be mesmerized by Steve Chaney and “Corny” Crow, visit the Butterfly Experience or watch man's best friend compete for height and distance during the X-treme Air Dog Competition.

6. PARTICIPATE IN A FAIR CONTEST

Are you a master bubblegum blower, cardboard house builder or scarecrow builder?

Nothing is more fun than getting on stage with your friends and family to compete for prizes. Every day you will find a Fair Contest just right for you or your group.

7. “READY OR NOT” HERE COMES BRIDGIT MENDLER

Get your tickets for one of the hottest new artists at the Fair this summer! Bridgit Mendler will rock the house on August 8 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are still available at the box office and online.

8. VISIT OUR TINY TOWN ON THE GREEN

Can you imagine your home shrunk down to just 350 square feet? Visit our Tiny House Town, located on the Community Theater lawn, aka Town Green, to view some of the most unique tiny living spaces this side of the Mississippi!

9. TAKE A CARNIVAL RIDE

It's carousels of fun with the legendary Helm and Sons Carnival returning to the Sonoma County Fair this year! From whimsical rides for the little ones and big thrill rides for teens and adults, you will be sure to have a terrific spinning good time this year at the Fair carnival!

10. EAT FAIR FOOD

Fair time is YUM TIME at the Sonoma County Fair! Wait no more and prepare to get your fill of corn dogs, caramel apples, waffle cones, cotton candy, cinnamon rolls, fresh squeezed lemonade and more.

11. OOH AND AHH OVER LOCAL TALENT

It's our local community that makes the Sonoma County Fair truly special. Visit the exhibit buildings to discover real local talent – from kids to grandparents! Want to get involved? Stop by an “Inspiration Station” where you can Learn, Listen or Do!

12. LEARN ABOUT THE LIVESTOCK

There's something for everyone at the Fair's livestock area, which offers a unique opportunity to experience first-hand the agricultural abundance of our area. Learn about life on the farm at Sweet Lil's, visit the barns, watch a show or participate in the auction, everyone is welcome!

13. DRESS UP FOR HARRY POTTER'S BIRTHDAY

It's a Wizardly weekend on August 3 and 4 at the Fair! Celebrate Harry Potter's Birthday with your best wizardly costume and join in classes and contests like the Harry Potter Look-a-like, Trivia Quiz and Find the Golden Snitch!

14. DON YOUR MOST EXTRAVAGANT HAT

Ladies and gentlemen are invited to don their most fashionable, uptown headpieces while enjoying sumptuous hors d'oeuvres and wine at the Third Annual Hat Day at the Races, Saturday August 3rd. Tickets are still available online or at the box office.

15. RIDE A SHEEP AND CATCH A PIG

Farmer's Day celebrates the agricultural heritage that makes Sonoma County and the North Bay more than just wine country! The festivities include team penning, wild cow milking, mutton bustin', hide races, sheep dog trials and a visit from Miss Wine Country Rodeo 2013, Ondrea Edwards. Join us on Sunday, July 28, 2013, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in Chris Beck Arena!

16. ATTEND A JUNIOR LIVESTOCK AUCTION

Agriculture is the heart of the Sonoma County Fair, and their Junior Livestock Auction is one of the largest in the state. Sale days are Saturday, July 27 at 9 am for swine and rabbits, Friday, August 2 starting at 9 am for sheep, goats and poultry; and the beef auction is on Saturday, August 3 at 6:00 pm. Support local kids and buy locally-raised, top-quality meat for your table at the Junior Livestock Auction. For more information, call 707-545-4203.

17. STROLL THROUGH THE MERCADO IN MEXICAN VILLAGE

Viva La Mexico! For south of the border textures, colors and tastes head to Mexican Village where you can enjoy a refreshing beverage or taco while strolling the many shops. And don't forget your dancing zapatos for the Mexican Fiesta, Sunday, July 28.

18. GET YOUR FACE PAINTED AND LEARN TO COOK

Back by popular demand is “Greentivities” where you can play and experiment with state-of-the-art exhibits, interactive demonstrations, and hands-on activities all while learning about clean energy and environmental stewardship. Join Laurie Figone in her “Demonstration Kitchen”, for a lesson in healthy eating and yummy smoothies.

19. PLAY IN THE KIDS AREA

It's Home Sweet Home in the Kids Area this year, with all kinds of playhouses, dollhouses, tents and even a houseboat! Join us as we celebrate each holiday, from trick-or-treating to Easter egg hunts. Come play in the snow on July 28th at 11:00 am in Community Theater for Christmas in July.

20. JOIN THE DAILY PARADE

Carry a flag and join the fun as we march through the fairgrounds each day at 5:00 pm. Enjoy 16 days of music, floats, costumes and laughs.

Come on down to the Sonoma County Fair for some “Home Spun Fun” from July 25 – August 11 (closed Mondays). Gates open daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. Tickets are available at the Fair box office and online. Admission is $10 ($8 presale until July 24) for 13 and up and $5 for kids 7 to 12. Kids 6 and under always get into the Fair free. Please note these special days: free admission for seniors on Thursdays; free admission for kids on Fridays; save $2 off admission when you bring 2 cans of non-perishable food on Fridays; Too Good To Be True Tuesdays & Wednesdays ($20 includes gate admission and unlimited carnival rides). For more information, go to sonomacountyfair.com or call (707)545-4200. You can also find “Sonoma County Fairgrounds” on Facebook. ­­­

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