Fair time is here

Salinas Valley Fair runs May 17-20 in King City

Contributed Photo
Journey Unauthorized will perform at the Salinas Valley Fair on Saturday.

KING CITY — The carnival rides have arrived, 4-H and FFA exhibits have been turned in, sheep, beef, swine, goats and chicken projects have been groomed, all in preparation for the Salinas Valley Fair's start on Thursday.

The four days of fun kicks off with Kids Day. Children ages 12 and under have free admission on Thursday. Beginning at 8 a.m., 4-H and FFA members compete with their livestock in the Topo Barn for Swine and Sheep and the Rava Arena for Market Steer and Market Goats. The Grand Champions are determined today.

"We've got over 900 kids that are going to be showing from five different counties," said Fair CEO TJ Plew.

The Farmer 500 returns to the Stampede arena, which is an auto race featuring local farmers. Not too far from the Stampede Arena in Long Branch Saloon is Mark MacKay, a Bay Area rock n' roll artist.

New this year are the Seal Lion Splash and J.D. Platt K-9 Kings, a stunt dog show. Plew was excited for the artistic stilt walkers dressed up as exotic animals such as zebras or tigers. Mystical and magical creatures will also roam the fairgrounds.

The Grand Wine Tasting for 21 and over has been moved to the Orradre Building this year. Local artist Christopher Allen will be creating an artistic display of all the winning wines from the Monterey International Wine Competition. The first 100 people attending the Grand Wine Tasting will receive a gift from Across the Prairie.

"We've got wine from Chile, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Oregon, Washington even wines from Georgia and Mississippi," Plew said.

Friday is Seniors' Day when Los Vaqueros Traveling Hunting Band are going to perform for all seniors. A few booths such as the Alliance on Aging will be on-site to provide information. Anyone who is 60 and over gets in for free.

Friday is also Special Persons Day when King City Rotary and Capitol Concessions provide free admission and hospitality for children and adults with special needs that have signed up in advance to come to the fair.

"Friday night we have the Truck Pull," Plew said. "It's going to be a bigger show this year."

In the Long Branch Saloon, the Money Band will return after five years. Comedian Matt Baker, a stunt comedian  from "America's Got Talent" and "Last Comic Standing," will perform on the Steinbeck Stage and on the grounds.

Saturday is Armed Services Day and the Junior Livestock Auction takes place in the Rava Arena building in the Marcel Layous Action Rings. Later that evening the Bull Riding sponsored by LA Hearne will take to the Stampede Arena for Mutton Bustin' and Donkey Roping, a free entry that includes riding a donkey and roping a steer.

"They can sign up online, our forms are online at the fair website or they can message us on Facebook for an entry," Plew said. "It's a free entry and they'll win cash and a couple T-shirts from the fairgrounds."

To participate in the Mutton Bustin', participants have to be under 6 years old and weigh less than 60 pounds. The winner wins a buckle.

A show by Journey Unauthorized comes to the Steinbeck Stage that same evening. The band plays hits from the band Journey.

The fair wraps up on Sunday with the Dia Del Hispano y Tardeda. The day begins with the Jaripeo or Mexican Style bull riding at the Stampede Arena. The Jaripeo will include "The Ride of Death." Escaramuzas, female horse riders in dresses who do patterned horse riding, will also perform.

"Our Tardeda is going to be three different bands, we've got two bandas and one Norteno band and ballet folklorico," Plew said. "The three bands will be on stage for five hours."

The carnival will be larger this year with two additional rides and the prices for the rides will stay the same. Tickets can be purchased at Rabobank or Tortilla Martinez.

"We have a little over 100 volunteers," Plew said. "We would not be able to keep our prices so low if we didn't have volunteers helping us. A big thanks to everyone that's helping keep the fair not only fun and fabulous but affordable."

For information, visit www.salinasvalleyfair.com.

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