Mid-State Fair

10 things to do at the Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles

The California Mid-State Fair runs Wednesday through July 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center.
The California Mid-State Fair runs Wednesday through July 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center.

Nothing says summertime like the California Mid-State Fair.

Wednesday is opening day for the fair, which runs through July 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center. The means plenty of hot days and warm nights of concerts, carnival rides and munching cotton candy while strolling with your sweetie on the Midway.

As you dust off your best belt buckle and get your cowboy boots out of the closet, here are 10 ways to get the most out of your fair experience.

1. Rock out. Garth Brooks isn’t the only big-name act coming to the Chumash Grandstand Arena; the rest range from EDM duo The Chainsmokers to folk-pop crooner John Mayer to country rockers Kid Rock, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band. Or check out free concerts at the Fort Frontier Stage by classic rock band Blue Öyster Cult, funk group War and country acts Restless Heart and Runaway June.

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Keith Urban, right, plays at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles in 2010. He’s one of several big-name performers playing the fair this summer. Jayson Mellom The Tribune

2. Go for a spin. From classic fun houses and Ferris wheels to newer attractions like spinning, swinging thrill ride Star Dancer and water flume ride Big Splash, the fair has more than its share of rides and carnival games. Families with small children can head to Cub Country for kid-friendly rides, a carousel and a farm-themed bounce house.

Fair Rides065
Fairgoers sail through the air while riding the Oktoberfest Wave Swinger at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

3. Feed your face. Lobster dogs, funnel cakes and bloomin’ onions are just a few of the food offerings at the fair, your source for all things sweet, salty and gloriously greasy. Indulge in drunken venison and duck confit from The Hurricane Kitchen, or satisfy your sweet tooth with an ice cream sandwich from Batch.

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Local ice cream sandwich shop Batch will serve up cool treats at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

4. Rub elbows with royalty. Ten young women are competing to be crowned Miss California Mid-State Fair on Tuesday. Afterward, the fair queen and her court will make daily appearances during the fair, introducing acts and spreading country cheer.

fair queen
Victoria Humphrey is crowned Miss California Mid-State Fair in July 2016. The fair pageant will be held Tuesday. Courtesy photo California Mid-State Fair

5. Shake a tail feather. Holy galloping gobblers! Fleet-footed fowl race after a remote-controlled mini-truck named Big Red at the Wild West Turkey Stampede, three times daily in the Rancho Frontier area. Looking for a cuter contest? Watch babies battle to reach the finish line at the Diaper Dash on July 25 at the Quad.

turkeys
Two wild turkeys face off at Camp San Luis Obispo. The Wild West Turkey Stampede, featuring galloping gobblers, will be held three times a day in the Rancho Frontier area of the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

6. Cuddle with critters. From pony rides to a petting zoo, there are plenty of opportunities to spend time with our furry, feathered and scaly friends. Check out cute cows, pink pigs and glamorous goats at the Paso Robles Pavilion or get up close with foxes, monkeys and birds of prey at Zoo to You shows, presented at Headliner Stage three times a day from July 20 to 29.

B1 Fair Auction2
A 255-pound market hog belonging to Blaize Twisselman of Atascadero poses for a picture. Several livestock events are planned for the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

7. Cowboy up. Fairgoers can embrace their inner buckaroos at two rodeo events at the Grandstand Arena. The Country Rodeo Finals on July 29 feature bull riding, barrel racing and roping, while the Mexican-style Fiesta del Charro on July 30 boasts bull fighting, traditional charros (cowboys) and live mariachi bands. Also in store are performances by bull jumper Manu Lataste and freestyle motocross athletes The Flying Cowboyz.

fair rodeo
Two rodeo events are coming to the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles this summer. Courtesy photo California Mid-State Fair

8. Pump iron. See athletes flex their muscles and test their might in the Strongest Man and Woman Competition on July 30 at the Headliner Stage. This brand-new event features men and women performing such feats as hoisting a giant tire, pulling a beer wagon and hefting a metal log overhead.

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Athletes will test their might in the new Strongest Man and Woman Competition at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. Benjamin Benschneider Seattle Times

9. Feel the ground shake. Ground-pounding excitement awaits at the new Tractor & Truck Pull on July 30 at the Grandstand Arena. See vehicles ranging from regular pickup trucks to mighty modified tractors — including Cal Poly’s Mustang Legacy tractor — pull loads of up to 20 tons down a custom-built track.

fair tractor truck pull
Bikes, Bulls & Pulls, a new event at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, will feature a tractor and truck pull. Courtesy photo California Mid-State Fair

10. Drink it all in. Thirsty after a long, dusty day of exploring the fairgrounds? Head to the Marketplace or Mission Square for wine, beer, cider and cocktails, plus live music and some prime people watching. Frosty rosé slushies, anyone?

wine
Enjoy a glass of wine at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. The Central Coast Wine Competition will be announcing Winery of the Year as well as hosting a public tasting of the top 150 wines at the fairgrounds on July 20. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

What's the California Mid-State Fair without fried food? The only problem is deciding which deep-fried treats to eat. To help you out, we chose four interesting deep-fried options, tasted them and reviewed them. Here's a quick look at what we ate

Tribune reporter Travis Gibson and photographer Joe Johnston checked out five different foods at the 2016 California Mid-State Fair.

California Mid-State Fair

The California Mid-State Fair runs Wednesday through July 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Ave. in Paso Robles. For more information about the fair, including a full schedule and admission and ticket prices, call 1-800-909-FAIR (3247) or visit www.midstatefair.com.

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