PASO ROBLES — Fair festivities kicked off Tuesday with the 2017 Miss California Mid-State Fair Pageant, where Adrianne Stultz, of Atascadero, was crowned queen. Taking the runner-up Princess spot was Suzanne Belton of Paso Robles and in the third spot, named Miss Congeniality, was Belle Caffee, of San Luis Obispo.
Stultz is a 19-year-old phlebotomist at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton and also coaches the Paso Robles High School Junior Varsity Cheerleading team. Stultz graduated from Cuesta College with an Associate’s Degree in science and is currently studying at Cuesta to become a registered nurse. Her hobbies include horseback riding, roping, barrel racing, team penning, raising show cattle and working out at the gym. Stultz presented her platform, “Back on Track with Ag,” as a plan to reach out to at-risk youth and turn their focus to agriculture.
For this year’s California Mid-State Fair, which runs until the 30th of this month, CEO Michael Bradley introduced some changes: a new family area called Rancho Frontier, more shade and seating at the four new activity and demonstration areas throughout the grounds, a brand-new Carnival, fastpass upgrade to the unlimited ride wristband, and some fresh food booths that serve unusual eats such as the Baja lobster dog.
“We bring grandkids and great grandkids to see the sheep and pigs and chickens,” said fairgoer and Atascadero resident Bill McNamara, who came on opening day. “They come in and do their things.”
Jessica Ferreira of Atascadero came on opening night to honor the family tradition of getting their old time picture taken. She has been planning the fair photo every year since she’d been pregnant. Unfortunately, the booth did not make a comeback this year, as many of the attractions may change year to year with new providers.
“I like that there’s a bunch of rides and cool stuff,” said her daughter Joni, age eight. “Sometimes I like seeing the concerts and the animals.”
She thought it was cool to be there on the fair’s first day.
“My favorite rides are the funhouse ones,” she said. “Well, my favorite, favorite one is the Music Fest.”
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood fans managed to pull some strings for a second show on Thursday, July 27, making Mid-State Fair history by selling out tickets in a mere 30 seconds. This surpassed Blake Shelton’s record sellout in 2016 and Aerosmith’s sellout in 2007. Yes, North County likes our country music.
Also saddling up to the Main Grandstand Stage this year is Keith Urban with special guest Lauren Alaina on July 26, and country rodeo finals are coming up on July 29.
Opening day featured a lively beginning: Estrella Hall in Farm Alley, a cow milking demo at Rancho Frontier, the trusty turkey races, and the nightly scheduled 98.1 KJUG Barn Dance.
Kid Rock will be returning to the fair on July 23, and plenty of bands such as War, the Yosemite Jazz Band, and Ricky Montijo will be playing for free with fair admission.
Four new areas make their initial debut, with activities, demonstrations, special events, and food booths. The Fun Zone features the nightly Barn Dance, Jimmy’s Water Hole, and Headliner Stage’s free shows, and includes dance troupe performances, local Zoo To You animal show, and Albertsons sponsored Talent Show, as well as the first ever California Mid-State Fair Strongest Man & Woman Competition on July 30. Other highlights in the Fun Zone will be fee-based mechanical bull riding, Walk on Water, rock wall climbing, and the Sling Shot Ride.
The Midway Food Court will have several shaded tables and large shade structures this year. New tastes include Hurricane Kitchen Southern cuisine, garlicky pizza, Baja Lobster, and a Hawaiian food booth. Returning favorites will be All So Good Rice Bowls, Bloomin’ Onion, Earthly Delights Sandwiches, Funnel Cakes, Jamba Juice Smoothies, Rico’s Mexican Food, and Ruthie’s Tater Tots. Nearby the Midway Food Court, fairgoers may also snack on some bites from Yogurt-A-Fair, Corn Dogs, Jimmy’s Tacos and Burgers, and Marcus’ Chicago Hot Dogs. Paso Robles Press will be posting a video of a staff and family fair food review on Facebook early next week.
A permanent event space finished construction this month. The 100,000 square-foot Paso Robles Pavilion funded by the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation will house various livestock exhibits and events featuring 4-H and FFA youth.
All things family will be held in the new Rancho Frontier, located inside the South Gate area of Frontier Town. Organizers promised shade and seating for grandparents. Cub Country will host carnival rides for the tiniest thrill seekers, free daily turkey races at the Wild West Turkey stampede, and the Great American Petting Zoo. A Farm Fresh Kid’s exhibit will offer free, hands-on, farm-based activities and children can be entertained and engaged by Something Ridiculous jugglers, live contests, Cow Parade SLO County display, pony rides, cow milking, butter making, strawberry tastings, food, shopping, and a chance to have a photo taken with a baby chick.
As a special treat for art lovers, international spray paint artist and Smithsonian Institute performer Ryan ‘ARCY’ Christenson will be creating a colorful, photorealistic mural live for each of the twelve days of the fair. Each mural will be an iconic fair image painted on a giant 8’x12’ canvas.
Another twist for carnival riders coming this summer is Helm and Sons Amusements’ WOWXPress wristband. The fast pass is an upgrade to the unlimited ride band, and allows users to skip the lines for an additional $15. For every four guests in the regular line, one WOWXpress holder will be let on ahead.
You may contact Paso Robles Press Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for any questions and or/feedback.