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SANTA ROSA, Calif. – July 5, 2012 – The 2012 Sonoma County Fair starts soon, Wednesday, July 25, and this year’s Top 10 list includes both new and familiar attractions. The Fair will be open every day except Mondays through August 12, and pre-sale admission savings are available through July 24. Mark your calendars now and look forward to 17 days of fun, including:
1. The Hall of Flowers Nothing compares to the Hall of Flowers, which annually offers one of the country’s largest and most stunning floral shows. This year’s garden exhibits, which will be designed around the theme “Ports of Call”, are sure to be spectacular. As Fairgoers stroll through the hall, they will visit exotic cities like Sorrento, Cozumel, Mykonos and St. Thomas. For those who would like a sneak preview of the show, tickets to the Bon Voyage Party, which is the Hall of Flowers Grand Opening celebration, are available for $25. This event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 24 and proceeds fund scholarships for agriculture students.
2. Wine Country Racing The Sonoma County Fairgrounds is home to one of California’s most beautiful tracks, and fans will enjoy races on both dirt and turf. Bet on the ponies every Wednesday through Sunday of Fair; the first post time is 1:15 pm. Ground level entry is free with Fair admission. Grandstand seats are $3; box seats are $5. Be sure to catch the free racing seminars held each race day at 11:30 am in Shade Park and learn from the experts on how to increase your odds of winning. Every Sunday, racing fans will also get to watch the Derby Dog Dash. This crowd-pleasing event features small breed dogs and mixes racing each other for the finish line on the actual dirt track. And for all of you fashionable ladies, save the date for Ladies’ Hat Day, July 28 and enjoy an afternoon of elegance and socializing. Tickets are $50 per person and include Fair Admission, race seats, a live auction, hat competition, wine, hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar. Proceeds benefit the Sonoma County Fair Foundation.
3. Headlining Concert Series Once again, the Fair has scheduled some top-notch concerts this summer. Don’t miss country superstar Martina McBride as she starts off the concert series week on August 7, followed by popular alt rock band Third Eye Blind on August 8, teen sensation Miranda Cosgrove on August 9, and the incomparable Jim Belushi (with the Sacred Hearts band) on August 10. Headline concerts take place in Chris Beck Arena and require a separate ticket purchase in addition to Fair Admission. Tickets are available now online and at the box office.
4. Farmers’ Day Sunday, August 5 is Farmers’ Day, and the Fair has organized a Sheep Drive from downtown Santa Rosa to the Fairgrounds, complete with sheep dogs, wranglers, a 76-member brass band and a tractor procession (which is free to enter, visit the website for details). At 10:00 am, the sheep will be driven from the corner of Fourth Street and Mendocino Avenue to the Fairgrounds via E Street. The public is invited to watch from along the route or gather at the Fairgrounds for the final arrival. Guest wrangler spots are available for $500; proceeds benefit the Fair Foundation. Between 1:00 and 3:00 pm, enjoy a fun-packed free show featuring excitement such as team penning, wild cow milking and a less formal Mutton Bustin’ competition in Chris Beck Arena. At 4:00 pm immediately following the Farmers’ Day activities is the Livestock Exhibitors’ Reunion. This reunion will be held in Reynolds’ Park and is open to all past and present livestock exhibitors.
5. Big Shows in Chris Beck Arena Rodeo lovers should plan to be at Chris Beck Arena on Saturday, July 28 for the PRCA Rodeo. Starting at 8:00 pm, you can watch professional cowboys compete for top dollars in saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bareback riding, calf roping, barrel racing, bull riding and more. Rodeo lovers can enjoy an entire weekend of excitement as the Hispanic Rodeo takes place the following day, Sunday, July 29 at 3:00 pm. This Jaripeo features bull riding with eight jinetes (riders) from a variety of Mexican states, eight bucking bulls plus a live banda. Enjoy a performance by El Puma de Sinaloa and his mighty steed and be sure to stay for the grand finale concert by Beatriz Adriana, a multiple award-winning singer. If you like the thrill of super-size power wheelies or a pyramid of cars getting crushed, be in Chris Beck Arena on Sunday, August 5 at 8:00 pm for the Monster Truck Night of Thrills & Destruction. Watching this spectacle live is more heart-pounding than any monster truck show you’ve seen on television. Don’t miss the ever-popular Destruction Derby on Saturday, August 11 as things rev up at 7:00 pm. This “crunch-a-rama” gets fans of all ages cheering and screaming as drivers compete for a portion of the $5,000 purse. Heat winners receive $150 for first place and $75 for second. New this year is Lucha Libre, Hispanic free fighting, in Chris Beck Arena on Sunday August 12. If you’ve never experienced this entertaining and exciting sport, here’s your chance. Starting at 7:00 pm, “luchadores” in colorful masks will execute rapid sequences of holds and high-flying maneuvers, cheered on by enthusiastic fans. Tickets for these shows are available online and at the box office. These shows require the purchase of both Fair Admission and an event ticket.
6. 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. Auction time is the culmination of a year of hard work and dedication for 4-H, FFA and independent junior exhibitors, and only the best animals meet Junior Livestock Auction standards. This year’s sale dates and times are Sunday, July 29 at 9:00 am for swine and rabbits; Friday, August 3 at 9:00 am for sheep, goats and poultry; and Saturday, August 4 at 6:30 pm for beef.
7. Free Fun for the Kids Another new adventure is the 3D Creature Feature Experience. This thrilling exhibit will put you up close and personal with exotic animals from around the world. Touch and learn about lizards, snakes, amphibians and bugs; there is even a chance to watch baby snakes hatch. Another great attraction is Bubba’s Beach. You will be amazed at what can be sculpted out of sand! The beach is at the entrance of the racing grandstands where you will find a giant sand sculpture. On the very next beach, Fairgoers will have the chance to participate in a do-it-yourself sand sculpting activity. The whole family will also love Nancy Riegler and her astounding Bird Show in Community Theater, starring the most talented tropical birds ever–on land or sea! The Fair is full of activities and features designed for kids 10 and under. Don’t miss the Pirates on the Russian River, sword fighting, magicians and the Great American Petting Zoo.
8. Community Exhibits The Sonoma County Fair is grateful for the huge number of folks that have made exhibiting at the Fair an annual tradition. There are several exhibit buildings on the Fairgrounds, so make sure you visit them all. You’ll find exhibits in categories like Fine Arts & Photography, Home Arts, Baked Goods and many more. This summer, the Fair introduces a new activity for Fairgoers, the “Inspiration Station – Learn, Listen & Do Series”. At these stations, located in the various exhibit halls, a skilled presenter will help participants with do-it-yourself projects to take home. Most classes last about 45 minutes, and options include glass blowing, candle making, scrapbooking and many others.
9. 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. Be sure to hang out in Shade Park where bands hit the Park Stage daily between 1:15 pm and 9:00 pm (check out the website for a full schedule). What better way to wind down your afternoon than in the Blues & Brews Lounge, located in between Garrett and Finley Halls where you can catch the Blues Hammer from July 25 – July 29 and The Terry Hanck Band from August 1 – August 12. Music at the Blues & Brews Lounge happens daily from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm, except on Tuesdays. And just around the corner in Mexican Village you will be entertained daily between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm by bands such as Nuevo Amancer and Oyé World Drummers. On August 2, Rocio y su Sonora will be performing with Los Cadetes in the Community Theater and don’t miss the Concurso de Bandas and Concurso de Grupos on August 3 and August 10.
10. Greentivities – Recycle, Reduce, Reuse New this year at the Fair is “Greentivities”, a fun, interactive venue for both kids and adults held in the Garden Building from 11:00 am till 10:00 pm daily. Everyone will enjoy this opportunity to play, experiment and interact with state-of-the-art exhibits and demonstrations. Greentivities will showcase exhibits not only from local organizations but also from the Maker Faire, a family friendly, two-day festival of invention and creativity held annually in San Mateo. Dive in to 3,800 square feet of exhibits which include ‘The House of Pressure’, the ‘Energy Bike’, hands-on Paleotechnic bead and cord making, and worm composting, as well as other green and inventive surprises. You will also find a speaker series with topics ranging from local farming lore to water conservation tips, all playfully educational.
During the Fair, gates are 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) 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 kids on Fridays; free admission for seniors on Thursdays; Two Good to be True Tuesdays ($20 covers general admission and unlimited carnival rides for all ages). For more information, go to www.sonomacountyfair.com or call (707)545-4200. You can also find “Sonoma County Fairgrounds” on Facebook.Page: 1 2 3 4
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