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Livestock and exhibitors settle in as Santa Barbara County Fair prepares to ‘let the magic begin’ | Local News

Livestock and exhibitors settle in as Santa Barbara County Fair prepares to ‘let the magic begin’ | Local News

On the western edge of the Santa Maria Fairpark on Tuesday, teenagers walked with oxen, young people showed sheep and others practiced with their pigs.

While workers continued to set up vendor booths throughout the Santa Barbara County Fair grounds, young livestock exhibitors from FFA departments, 4-H clubs, local ranches and others have been busy since the weekend.

The 2024 fair with the motto “Let the Magic Begin” opens on Wednesday afternoon for its five-day run.

However, the animals and their owners arrived over the weekend for a busy week of weighing, showing and auctioning.

Tanner Anderson, a member of the Knights 4-H Club, sat on a fence while Genie drank some water from a giant trough in a cattle barn where fans kept the cattle cool.

This is not the first fair for the 16-year-old, as he has brought pigs before, but he enjoyed the strong heifers. Genie is celebrating this third time with a cattle project.

“I enjoy it because they are so calm,” he said, recounting the weeks of walking, washing and otherwise preparing Genie for this week.

Tanner Anderson of the Knights 4-H Club at St. Joseph High School and Genie enjoy a quiet moment at a water trough in the Santa Maria Fairpark on Tuesday before opening day of the Santa Barbara County Fair on Wednesday.
Tanner Anderson of the Knights 4-H Club at St. Joseph High School and Genie enjoy a quiet moment at a water trough in the Santa Maria Fairpark on Tuesday before opening day of the Santa Barbara County Fair on Wednesday. Credit: Janene Scully / Noozhawk Photo

In addition to the activities in the barns, there will be plenty of music, exhibits, rides, fair food and more in the fairgrounds through Sunday.

After the opening ceremony on Wednesday, officials will rename the Fairpark arena the Clarence and Rosalie Minetti Arena. More than sixty years ago, the arena was named after Clarence Minetti, a Santa Maria Valley rancher and businessman. The renaming honors his longtime wife.

The fair’s opening concert will feature country band Lonestar on stage at the newly inaugurated Minetti Arena, followed by Southern rock group 38 Special on Thursday night and The Fray on Friday night.

Barbie (left) and 11-year-old Payson Willems of Huasna Valley 4-H take a walk through the barns at Santa Maria Fairpark on Tuesday, one day before the official opening of the Santa Barbara County Fair.
Barbie (left) and 11-year-old Payson Willems of Huasna Valley 4-H take a walk through the barns at Santa Maria Fairpark on Tuesday, one day before the official opening of the Santa Barbara County Fair. Credit: Janene Scully / Noozhawk Photo

Special seats cost $10 to $25, table seating for eight costs $300, and a seat in the stands is free. The concerts at Minetti Arena are separate ticketed events; admission to the fair is not included. Concert tickets for the fair can be purchased online here.

The Central Coast West Summer Jam on Saturday will feature hip-hop artists, headlined by Too Short, and also features performances by Suga Free, Dezzy Hollow and Kokane. Doors open at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $60 to $200.

The entertainment program on Fiesta Day on Sunday includes a performance by Jaripeo Quebradita.

Magical entertainment can be found around the fairgrounds, where magician Adam the Great performs on the Center Stage and a Wild Science exhibit can be seen in the Park Plaza building.

Helm & Sons Amusements provides the rides and games.

For the first time, the annual fair will feature La Placita, with food, drinks, shopping, entertainment and fun, as well as plenty of seating.

The Outlaw Mariachi will take the La Placita stage on Wednesday and Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., while The Mariachi Divas will celebrate their 25th anniversary on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Raja and Sienna Morin of Adobe Nipomo 4-H hone their show skills on Tuesday at the Santa Maria Fairpark.
Raja and Sienna Morin of Adobe Nipomo 4-H hone their show skills on Tuesday at the Santa Maria Fairpark. Credit: Janene Scully / Noozhawk Photo

La Placita also hosts daily eating contests and a piñata drop with various prizes.

The gates are open Wednesday and Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The carnival may stay open later.

Tickets to the fair are $16 for those ages 12 to 61 and $14 for those ages 6 to 11 and older than 62. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted free all five days. Carnival wristbands are $55.

The cattle of the Los Alamos Grange can enjoy some rest in the Santa Maria Fairpark before opening day of the Santa Barbara County Fair.
The cattle of the Los Alamos Grange can enjoy some rest in the Santa Maria Fairpark before opening day of the Santa Barbara County Fair. Credit: Janene Scully / Noozhawk Photo

However, on Wednesday all tickets are $5 if purchased at the box office before 5:00 p.m. On Thursday seniors age 62 and older receive $5 admission with a ticket purchased at the box office and children 11 and under pay $5.

Admission is free on Saturday for military personnel and police officers with valid ID.

Day parking at the fairgrounds costs $10.

The Santa Maria Fairpark is located at 937 S. Thornburg St. For more information, visit santamariafairpark.com.