Santa Barbara County Fair starts Wednesday in Santa Maria

Matthew O’Henley, center, with the Nipomo FFA, preps his goat for showing at the Santa Barbara County Fair in July 2015.
Matthew O’Henley, center, with the Nipomo FFA, preps his goat for showing at the Santa Barbara County Fair in July 2015. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The 125th annual Santa Barbara County Fair fair opens its five-day run in Santa Maria on Wednesday with the theme of “A Fair to Remember.”

In all, 1,440 animals make up the 2016 Junior Livestock Auction. Once again, pigs outnumber the rest with 742, followed by 309 sheep, 143 goats, 165 beef, 46 dairy goats and 35 pygmy goats.

“All the animals are down a little bit, except for the pigs, they’re up,” said Rick Tomasini, junior livestock superintendent who participated as a youth and then saw his children take part in the annual activity.

In addition to the junior livestock exhibits, the fair will offer assorted free entertainment, including a kids pedal tractor pull, a trackless train and a petting zoo.

New attractions include Wizards Challenge with Enchanted Forest Animals; DockDogs, with canines diving, jumping and splashing in a pool of water; and The Chicken Rider, involving stilt-walking puppeteers.

The fair, at the Santa Maria Fairpark, will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. all five days, with the carnival open until midnight.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for youth ages 6 to 11, $8 for people 62 years and older, and free for children 5 and younger. Daily unlimited carnival ride wristbands are $30. Parking is $7.

Several theme days are planned with discounted admission tickets for certain hours. Wednesday is Dollar Day, with everyone admitted for $1 until 5 p.m. Thursday is Senior Day, with senior citizens admitted for $1 all day and others admitted for $3 before 3 p.m.

On Friday, general admission is $3 before 3 p.m. before regular pricing returns. Saturday is Military and Law Enforcement Day with personnel and their families admitted for free all day.

Main stage performances are planned at 7:30 p.m. with Parmalee on Wednesday, The Pointer Sisters on Thursday, Dwight Yoakam on Friday, and rock ’n’ roll legends Creedence Clearwater Revisited on Saturday. The concerts are free with paid admission to the fair.

A destruction derby is planned for Saturday with gates opening at 5 p.m. and action starting at 6 p.m. The separate ticketed event costs $12 for general admission and $18 for box seats.

Click here for the daily schedule for the Santa Barbara County Fair.