New theme, new acts, classic fair

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

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Glittering lights, people everywhere and lots and lots of food.  No, it’s not Vegas, it’s The Great Kern County Fair, and according to Bill Blair the CEO and general manager, “It’s Magic!”

Fair time is here once again and there is a new theme arriving with it, “It’s Magic!” has replaced the old “Best in the West” slogan.  “This year we decided to change, I guess the public wanted a change, too” said Blair.

There are all sorts of things to do with  admission to the fair.  The Budweiser Pavilion will feature 12 nights of free entertainment with musical guests Kellie Pickler, Uncle Kracker, Salt N’ Pepa, The Doobie Brothers and even Mariachi Los Camperos.  There will also be free entertainment in La Villa Festiva featuring acts like Mariachi San Marcos, Cupido, Virus, and Amor Y Llanto.

Several new events will make their way to the fair this year.

“Yeah there are a couple of new things, the one that sticks out is called ‘Wool Riders,’” said Blair.  Children are encouraged to sign up to ride on the back of large sheep and try to stay on the sheep’s back until the whistle is blown.  Children will compete for prizes and a chance to go to Fresno to duke it out with fellow champions from other fairs.  “Mutton bustin,” is a chance for children to experience the rodeo, but on a smaller scale. Blair said, “It’s a hoot to watch.”

Also new this year is the Kinect/XBOX Mobile Tour, which will make its way through the fair Sept. 22 to Sept. 26, and will give gamers a chance to play new games in it’s mobile exhibit.

The Calico Corner Children’s Area has been expanded thanks in part to PG&E and will have a circus, Imagination Gallery and Picasso’s Drawing Pavilion.  According to Blair, “In the children’s area and throughout the grounds, providing a fun learning environment is a big part of what the Kern County Fair is all about.”

Many of the entertainment staples like the rodeo and hypnotist show will be returning.  Also, mini-tractor races, All-Alaskan pig races, BMX Pro Trick Team and turkey stampede will be making a return.

When asked if he was concerned about lower admission due to the economy, Blair said, “No, I’m really not. Actually, I’m very optimistic because fairs in California have done very well as long as the weather’s been good. We all believe, and we’ve been kind of espousing this for a couple of years.

“It’s the stay-cation syndrome, where people are not going to Magic Mountain or Disneyland, they want to go to the fair, so they do save up their money to come to the fair, and it’s been that way since the economy took a turn in 2008.”

The Kern County Fair offers several days of discounts for different groups of people starting with free admission on opening day Wednesday Sept. 21, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.  On Tuesday Sept. 27, and Wednesday Sept. 28, are “School Days” where children can go in a group with their school or home school from 9 a.m. to noon for free and check out some of the educational aspects of the fair.  Thursday Sept. 29, is “Special Friend Day”, also from 9 a.m. to noon, and is specially designed for disabled children to also enjoy educational aspects of the fair.  For more information on other discount days please visit and click on the KC fair link.

“All this stuff you can do for six bucks. Who can come and see the Doobie Brothers, or Uncle Kracker, or Kellie Pickler, you know for as far as entertainment goes, for six bucks?” said Blair.

The fair starts Wednesday Sept. 21, and runs through Sunday Oct. 2. Advanced ticket sales are available at Albertson’s. Prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children over the age of 5. Children under 5 are free.

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