Fair experience 'microcosm' of Valley
FROM LEFT: Jose Agurrie, 8, and Telles Sebastian 7, present their tickets at the entrance to the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta early Friday afternoon as they make their way in on opening day. (ERIC MILLER PHOTO / March 2, 2013)
Fair Chief Executive Officer Theresa Garcia and fair board President Darrel Bostic were on hand to greet the first fair-goers as they streamed into the fairgrounds, many tugged along by excited children.
Themed “Experience the Magic!” the fair continues through March 10 and promises a wide variety of daily attractions including rides, crafts, foods, games, concerts, exhibitions, show animals and more.
“It’s all the above. It’s a family-friendly place to go, whether for education through ag activities, … recreationally with rides, and frankly it’s also a meeting place for people in the Valley,” Fair spokesman Bill Gay said.
People tell him that every year they run into people they haven’t seen in some time, he explained, and hundreds get involved with the fair in ways such as entering cooking or photo contests, showing animals through 4-H or FFA or just creating memories with friends or family.
“It’s really a nice microcosm of the Valley all at once,” Gay said.
This year’s fair features several new attractions including added carnival rides, the introduction of Doc’s Farm exhibit, the Preble Building’s transformation into an Enchanted Forest, and a new Haul and Brawl ag contest on the final day.
Imperial residents Norma and Ernie Wyles marveled at a kangaroo inside the Enchanted Forest in the Preble Building on Friday shortly after the fair opened. They said they were taking the opportunity to check out the fair on their own while their daughters were at school.
”So far, so good, I like it. Everything is so different,” Norma said. “You look forward to seeing something different here every year so that’s nice.”
“I like this dragon, it’s so neat,” Ernie said, referring to the giant dragon snaking through the building.
Gay said the fair hopes to attract “as many as possible,” and credited sunny skies as helping to reach that goal Friday.
“The weather is beautiful, and this should hopefully drive up attendance,” he said.
Fairgoers also get a chance to see more of what local businesses have to offer.
Brawley’s San Sebastian Rustic owner Vanessa Vaca has a booth here for the first time this year and is excited to promote her business at an event that attracts thousands every year.
”It’s just to get business visibility and talk to people,” she said. “It’s a good way to remind people that you’re there.”
The fair’s Facebook page is also a “fun way to interact,” Gay said. Photos, contests and more will be regularly posted there as the fair continues.
The fair opens today at noon with buildings and gates closing at 10 p.m. and the carnival closing at 11 p.m.
Visit www.californiamidwinterfair.com or call 760-355-1181 for ticket information.
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org