The Kern County Fair opens todayband

Stephen Underwood, Reporter

Bakersfield will host the 100th Kern County Fair on September 21.

“This year is different from previous years because of the fireworks, stands, exciting things, and new things we’ll have this year,” says Mike Olcott. Mike helps administer and run the fair alongside Jeannie Burton.

The fair starts at 12 p.m. September 21 at the Kern County Fairgrounds. The last day of festivities will be October 2.

There will be 12 nights of free concerts at the Budweiser Pavilion for those with paid admission; featuring the Commodores, Clay Walker, Grand Funk Railroad, Boyz II Men, and Hinder. Each show is at 8 p.m. with the fireworks kicking off after every concert.

Craft Garden Beer is a newer addition this year to the fair. Mike Olcott says, “Wristbands will cost ten dollars for four ounces. Sampling the beer is not free, but by paying for the wristband you can try different beers.”

Though the fair has paid admission, there will be exceptions to the rule. Such exceptions include Special Friends Day for the disabled on September 22, Senior Day on September 23, School Day, Gospel Day, the Feed the Need Can Drive (which requires a donation of at least four cans to get in), and free admission any day for those in the military or for kids five and under.

Olcott has counted and explained by saying, “Last year we had 45,812 pounds of food donated. This year we can expect 48,000 to 50,000.”

To gain free fair admission by donating blood, adults must donate a pint between August 15 and September 20 at the Houchin Blood Center.

“We had 4,500 pints of blood donated last year, and this year I expect 5,000 pints to be donated,” Mike Olcott says.

Besides beer, concerts, and fireworks, this year’s fair also features contests, demonstrations, and animal exhibits.

This year there will be a new shark exhibit called the Haai Shark Encounter.

The sharks will be live on display, though rumors have been circulating of planned protests from animal rights activists to have Kern County remove the event by sending petitions to fair chairman Cesar Chavez.

The event, however, is officially confirmed despite the controversy, and Mike Olcott has said, “We are still having the event. There are no plans to remove the sharks from the fair.”

The event will be Monday through Friday with three time slots: 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8p.m. Saturday and Sunday have time slots at 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m.

Correction: The original story incorrectly stated the general public could get free fair admission on September 23; that has been removed from the online version of this story.