California has the distinction of holding the summer’s first state fair (state fair geeks are aware that Florida’s fair, held in February, is the first of the calendar year). The California State Fair is one of the more popular state fairs as well, drawing almost a million people over its 17 days. This year’s edition opens in Sacramento on Friday, July 10th and runs through Sunday, July 26th.
Some of the highlights include a full lineup of horse racing, including thoroughbreds, Arabian, quarter horse, and mule racing, and nightly concerts, some of which are free and some, like country singers Martina McBride on the 15th and Brett Eldredge on closing night, with an extra admission charge. The fair will feature sporting events like soccer and rugby, and competitions like drone racing (!), freestyle motocross, and demolition derby. There’s a Mexican rodeo and dance, livestock sales, quarter horse exhibitions, and a Splash Dogs competition, which is just what it sounds like.
On July 18th you can take part in the Best of California Brewfest. Tour The Farm, three acres dedicated to California agriculture and food production. There will be numerous cooking challenges, where teams of firefighters or postal service workers compete against each other. Sign up for the pie eating contest on the 13th.
The special food items for the fair haven’t yet been announced but, judging by the offerings of recent years, you can be sure they’ll be crazy, outlandish, and perhaps even delicious. Among last year’s wackiness were a hot dog-stuffed deep-fried Twinkie, a hamburger stuffed with mac-and-cheese where the bun was replaced by two Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and ice cream, billed as the world’s hottest, made with ghost peppers and Trinidad moruga scorpion peppers! For all the fair lowdown, see their website.