‘Tis the season for carnival rides, exotic sights and sounds, and deep-fried foods great and small. The California State Fair begins today at Sacramento’s Cal Expo and will run until July 28.
Here’s a look at the new attractions at the Golden State’s summertime tradition this year.
For $28, fairgoers on July 13 can purchase a Food Festival pass. Each pass can be redeemed for the customer’s choice of food items that will be entered into the “best-of-the-fair” competition. Each pass is good for four items.
Thirty vendors at the festival will offer items such as Grizzly Mac Attack (macaroni and cheese topped with pulled pork and coleslaw), Cap’n Crunch chicken sliders, deep fried caramel apple pie, bacon and pecan cinnamon roll, fried banana hot dog, burnt tri-tip ends sandwich, vegan nachos and vegan Philly cheese steak.
A pass can also be used for beverages, including piña colada smoothie or green monster smoothie.
Fair spokesperson Darla Givens described the motivation behind this event.
“You hear a lot of people say, ‘Oh, I go to the fair to eat the food,’” she said. “Well, we thought, ‘Why not make it a true food festival?’”
Givens referred to the festival’s offerings as “fun, new, exciting dishes.”
Those purchasing passes will save a total of $12 off the regular price of four items from these vendors. A pass is transferable, so that it can be used during more than one visit to the fair.
Also new will be the California State Fair Bear Cup Esports Tournament. It will feature such video games as Fortnite, Overwatch, NBA2K, Apex Legend, and League of Legends. As of the deadline for this article, Fortnite was already sold out.
There will be 17 days of tournament play, and during weekends, special tournaments will be played.
Nairo, GarrettG, SF Shock and Kings Guard will be among the Esports legends who will make appearances at Expo Building 5.
Givens described the tournament as a special event for gamers throughout the region.
“It’s such a big opportunity for all the gamers in the region to come together (in) one place for the next 17 days, and have a bunch of fun,” she said.
Drone Light Show
Givens referred to another new exhibit, the Drone Light Show, as one of the fair’s “innovative things this year.”
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night during the fair, drones will light up the sky to choreographed music.
Because of their level of illumination, the drones will be visible well beyond the fairgrounds.
For the first time, the Bank of America Selfie Experience will be presented at the State Fair.
During each day of the fair at Expo Building 2, guests can enter this area and take “selfie” photographs with their cellphone cameras.
Presented by Stage 9, the themed photography stations will include places such as “Jurassic Dark,” with glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs, “Money Pit,” with gold bars and stacks of cash and coins, and a Willy Wonka-inspired area with giant doughnuts, forest pops, candy canes and other oversized treats.
Givens stated her belief that the selfie photography area will be an interesting place.
“It will be pretty interesting, because people are all about the selfies nowadays,” she said.
This exhibit is free with fair admission.
Outstanding in Their Field
Maintaining its longtime tradition of celebrating California’s agriculture, and the “crops that make it to your table,” the fair will introduce its Outstanding in Their Field exhibit.
Through special displays, the exhibit will showcase cherries, peaches, olive oil, pears and honey.
Designed as an educational exhibit, Outstanding in Their Field will provide details of what it takes to grow such crops.
Givens emphasized the importance of this exhibit.
“It goes back to our roots of agriculture (in California),” she said.
Incredible Me Exhibit
The Incredible Me Exhibit is an interactive experience, in which children will have the opportunity to create their own superheroes.
Participants, 12 and younger, will have the opportunity to design their own costumes and participate in a popping dice game that selects superhero powers for them.
Givens said that the exhibit was tested out earlier this week during a pre-fair gathering.
“We had 10 children in there today and they just loved it,” she said.
Another exhibit that will be certain to draw attention from fairgoers is Goat Mountain.
This goat playground with elevated climbing areas will feature 15 to 20 goats that will roam in a 36-foot by 36-foot area. These animals will include kids – or baby goats.
The fair’s media department invites fair guests to come “see goats together on their very own mountain.”
For information on other fair attractions, and admission costs, visit the website, www.CAstateFair.org.