The end of the Sonoma County Fair often feels like the end of summer. With the carnival packed up and the Hall of Flowers taken down, we are left to look back on fond family memories and distant smells of cotton candy and funnel cakes. After 11 days of “Holidaze” we are pleased to share that it was a successful season.
Over 17,000 still exhibits and livestock entries were on display for all to see. Exhibitors showcased their talents ranging from decorated cookies and cakes to crafted metal and photography. At the Junior Livestock Auction, over 700 Sonoma County raised animals sold, breaking records with a gross of $1,583,789.
This year’s average daily attendance reached over 20,000 visitors. Compared to last year’s daily average of 17,200 visitors, this year’s Fair saw a greater than 16% increase in daily attendance. “Holidaze” at the Sonoma County Fair was attended by over 221,00 visitors over the course of 11 days.
Wine Country Racing continued to be a big draw offering fairgoers a chance to wager on live thoroughbred racing on both turf and dirt tracks. This year’s Derby Dog Dash had over 125 dogs racing for $750 in cash awards. The Derby Dog Dash will continue this Sunday during Bonus Week of racing, where another 50-75 dogs are expected to compete for additional cash awards.
Fair fans packed the stands in Chris Beck Arena for sold out shows at the PRCA Rodeo, Destruction Derby and three nights of Monster Trucks. This year’s Community Concert Series was once again FREE with Fair Admission and included country stars Lauren Alaina and Trent Harmon, one of the greatest bands in the history of music – WAR, the ultimate Beatles tribute The Fab Four, The Marshall Tucker Band, Foghat, Life in the Fast Lane: Eagles Tribute, and the Latino favorites Graciela Beltran and Banda Machos.
2017 was another year where fairgoers enjoyed a wide variety of fair food. Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ used approximately 350 pounds of charcoal daily for their barbecue. Over 3000 gourmet licorice ropes were consumed. More than 8,000 turkey legs were enjoyed by fairgoers. 13,000 slices of pizza were sold by Pizzeria, Garlicy’s, and Biardelli’s. 17,500 pounds of potatoes were prepared by The Thirsty Fry. 2,500 pounds of pasta were cooked by The Spaghetti Palace. Last but certainly not least, over 50,000 corn dogs were sold at this year’s fair.
Taking almost 120 days to construct, the Hall of Flowers is a beloved landmark of the Sonoma County Fair. This year’s theme “Holidays in Bloom” gave our exhibitors a chance to create a cultural snapshot of each festivity. Waterfalls, champagne bottle fountains, a 40 foot tree and other themed props enhanced this journey through the holidays.
The home of Sweet Lil’s Farm, Saralee & Richard’s Barn provided a special place for kids and adults to learn about life on the Farm at the Sonoma County Fair. This year included faux cow “milking”, an animal nursery and a host of other ag-tivities. Enhancements to the barn area included, a new fountain, the Summit State Bank Olive Grove, Redwood Credit Union Plaza and the Clover Sonoma South Pasture, providing a place of respite from all the action.
Over 300 Fair employees and patrons completed CPR training with the Fair’s first aid provider, Sonoma County’s American Medical Response.
The weather during the Fair this year was ideal. Most days stayed in the mid-80s. The winds towards the end of the second week kept fairgoers cool and happy.
Lisa Wittke Schaffner, the Sonoma County Fair Board President said in closing, “Our 2017 Sonoma County Fair wrapped up the Holidays with plenty of cheer! We exceeded all expectations with a new record of $1,583,789 in gross sales from the Junior Livestock Auction. The Fair Board of Directors and our Fair Staff are so proud of the community we live in. Their support of our Fair and local youth in agriculture is astounding. We have all worked hard to make this Fair memorable and we thank you for your participation. I hope to see you all next year as we bring an island feel to the Fair with our theme Tropical Fairadise.”