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Sonoma-Marin Fair: A uniquely Petaluma event

Some came for the fried food, others for the ugly dogs, and yet others for the spinning rides, but all left with a distinctly Petaluma experience.

Where else but in a town bordered by wine and farm country can one learn how to milk a cow, pet a llama, then attend a wine and carnival-food pairing event?

All told, more than 60,000 people flooded the Sonoma-Marin fairgrounds for this year's fair, which opened its gates Wednesday, June 19 and gave its last Ferris wheel ride on Sunday evening.

Sonoma-Marin Fair

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"It was a great fair," said Fair CEO Pat Conklin. Final attendance won't be available for a couple weeks, but Conklin estimates that this year's event may have drawn more than the 62,000 people who came in 2012.

"Thursday was a great day, attendance was way up, one of the highest ever," she said.

Conklin attributed much of Thursday's crowds to a performance by Dancing With the Starts winner Kellie Pickler.

Then on Friday, the Worlds Ugliest Dog competition drew thousands of canine enthusiasts, as well as international media attention.

But Conklin said it was the variety of the fair's offerings that consistently attracted the crowds, offering something for just about everyone.

Caitlyn Garner, 6, came for the funhouse. Another youngster, Robert Cesena, was drawn to the petting zoo.

For Kendra Spicher, 17, the best part of the experience was overcoming her fear of going on the zooming, whirling rides. "I've been going to the fair as long as I can remember," she said.


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