Sonoma County Fair opens
“Back to our Roots in Cowboy Boots” is the theme for the Sonoma County Fair this year, taking place Aug. 1-11 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.
The fairgrounds will be transformed into the “Wild West” beginning with the Hall of Flowers. The 2019 Hall of Flowers is a “Country Garden of Songs.” Each garden will highlight a country song featuring a different flower. From “San Antonio Rose” to “The Orange Blossom Special” the gardens will have their own floral and musical identity. Visitors should expect beautiful water features, and even a saloon where you can “wet your whistle.”
A big draw at the fair is always the food. Along with such staples as garlic fries, turkey legs, Kettle Corn, and churros, new food this year includes a tofu corn dog, a Dill Dog (hot dog in a pickle, battered and fried), jerk chicken, deep-fried rice pudding balls, Hawaiian chicken, shrimp and ribs, and potato tacos.
Events at the Chris Beck Arena include barrel racing (Aug. 2), the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo (Aug. 3) featuring events like saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, and bull riding; monster trucks (Aug. 8); and a destruction derby (Aug. 11).
Wine Country Racing returns Aug. 1-4, and Aug. 8-11. Entry into the track is free with fair admission. A grandstand seat is $3, and a box seat is $5. VIP seating is available as well. First post times are 1:15 p.m. Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 2:15 p.m. on Fridays.
Don’t know much about betting on the horses? There are free racing seminars every race day, 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. on Friday.
As for music, the fair has a wide variety of evening shows for every musical taste. How about country music? Lonestar plays Aug. 5. A little funk? Average White Band performs Aug. 7. Rock your night away with David Victor (formerly of Boston) who will knock out the hits of Boston and Styx on Aug. 3. Chicago cover band Leonid and Friends hit the stage Aug. 10, and the fair closes Aug. 11 with Mi Banda El Mexicano & Los Angeles Negros. In addition, there are many bands on the Park Stage throughout the day and evening.
Take a walk over to the barns and see the results of the hard work by Sonoma County’s young ranchers and farmers and the animals they’ve raised – swine, sheep, cattle, goats, and more. You can support their efforts by participating in the livestock auctions.
Want to take a ride? The midway features old favorites as well as new ones such as the Footloose for the more adventurous, and Frog Hopper aimed at the little kids.
Bring your wallet to the fair – there’s plenty to buy. Walk through Grace Pavilion, which offers aisles of jewelry, clothing, leather products, household items, mini oak barrels, African arts, pillows, and more.
Gates open at 11 a.m., and close at 9 p.m. Admission is $15 for 13 and up, $7 for kids 7-12 (free on Thursdays), children six and younger are free every day, seniors 60 and older are free on Fridays.
Food Bank Day is Wednesday, Aug. 7 – bring two non-perishable (non-expired) food items to donate to the Redwood Empire Food Bank and get $4 off general admission.
For all the details about the fair go to www.sonomacountyfair.com.