Salinas Valley Fair
Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City. (Contributed)

KING CITY — Salinas Valley Fair will bring “Golden Hills & Fair Time Thrills” for its 80th celebration taking place Thursday through Sunday at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City.

“We are so excited to celebrate the 80th Annual Salinas Valley Fair, May 16-19,” said Fair CEO Lauren Hamilton. “This year, our theme is ‘Golden Hills & Fair Time Thrills,’ and we have your favorite activities. The Fair will once again be filled with all of your favorite things, exhibitions like 4-H and FFA livestock, cookies, photos and so much more. Swing into our exhibition buildings or barns and see what our talented exhibitors are up to.”

This year’s Fair will provide four days of family-friendly entertainment across the fairgrounds at 625 Division St., beginning Thursday, May 16, at 11 a.m. and continuing through Sunday, May 19, until 10:30 p.m.

“Alongside all of our exhibits, we bring a full week of family-friendly activities and entertainment,” Hamilton said. “Bring the whole family, young and old, for Kids’ Holaday on Thursday, Seniors Day on Friday and Armed Forces Day on Saturday. Each day in the Stampede Arena, we will feature new and exciting entertainment options along with our Kids Zone and Commercial area.”

Fair food favorites, adult beverages and live music and dancing in the Long Branch Saloon are available daily, in addition to the Kids Zone, carnival rides and games. Also returning are the petting zoo, pony rides and the famous Trackless Train.

Steinbeck Stage has a few new and exciting acts, including Micro Wrestling, Mariachi Divas and Outlaw Mariachi. Among the activities on the Family Lawn area are the Sea Lion Show, the Butterfly Kingdom and the Mind Works exhibit.

“The sea lions are out and about playing all day in between shows,” said Salinas Valley Fair Board President Frank Lopez. “The Butterfly Kingdom is open all day for everyone to stroll through, feed a butterfly on your way in and learn all about their Kingdom. Parents with kids are going to enjoy hanging out in the Mind Works exhibit, where kids can play and parents can take a rest!”

Motorcycle Short Track Racing is set for Thursday evening, with professional and amateur racers of all ages and skill levels competing on a specially constructed dirt track inside the Stampede Arena grounds.

Tickets to the show, which begins with Opening Ceremonies at 6 p.m. followed by the racing at 6:15 p.m., are free with admission to the fair.

“I’m really excited to bring motorcycle flat track racing back to Salinas Valley,” said Brok McAllister, the racing event promoter. “We’re proud to announce that this event will also feature the Ricky Graham Memorial race. Graham was a longtime resident in the area and a National Champion before his unfortunate death in 1998. He left behind an amazing legacy in the professional dirt track world.”

The Stampede Arena will also showcase Truck and Tractor Pulls on Friday evening and the headlining concert Saturday night featuring country duo Maddie & Tae.

“Grab your tickets before the show sells out,” Lopez said.

Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Animal
Saul Guijarro, a member of Rancho San Juan FFA, is the 2024 Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation Scholarship winner. He is raising a lamb as this year’s Heritage Animal, up for sale during the Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday. (Courtesy of SVF)

Junior Livestock Auction set for Saturday

Months of effort for young, aspiring ranchers and farmers culminates at the Salinas Valley Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday, May 18, beginning at 8 a.m.

More than 800 4-H and FFA members have raised livestock — market hogs, lambs, goats, beef, bred heifers, rabbits and poultry — to be judged, graded and sold at the Fair. The Auction also brings together the efforts of volunteers and the generosity of many businesses.

“Learning to produce food for my table and how to be in business for myself — valuable lessons I learned as a 4-H and FFA member,” said Fair Auction Director Cody Bassetti. “Now, the volunteers and the auction buyers, we’re all doing our part to ensure these lessons continue for kids in our community.”

Bassetti, a volunteer director of the fair’s Junior Livestock Auction, oversees the 75-plus volunteers that help to sell the livestock raised by the 4-H and FFA members.

One of the highlights at the Auction is the sale of the Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Animal. Saul Guijarro, a member of Rancho San Juan FFA, is the 2024 Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation Scholarship recipient and is raising a lamb named “Bucky” as this year’s Heritage Animal.

“I get to help give back to my community, and I feel privileged to be a part of raising money to help improve and maintain the Salinas Valley Fair,” Guijarro said.

Over the past 21 years, the sale of the Heritage Animal has contributed more than $2 million to the Heritage Foundation, which continues to work on various fair improvement projects.

“Thank you for your continued support of the Salinas Valley Fair,” Hamilton said. “We are truly grateful for all of our exhibitors, sponsors and supporters and look forward to seeing you at this year’s Salinas Valley Fair.”

For tickets and more information about the 80th Annual Salinas Valley Fair, including the full events schedule, visit

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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