Event is better than fair in El Dorado County
Tribune Staff Writer
County fairs in California have developed somewhat of a ho-hum reputation in recent years. Is it really worth your time to spend an entire day sampling fried food and playing arcade games?
The El Dorado County Fair is different, for one important reason. El Dorado County itself is different.
“Our fair is really about community,” said fair publicist Karen Spencer. “El Dorado County is a unique place, and our fair reflects that. We’ve worked hard on our events and attractions, but it is the coming together of people in our community that makes the fair special.”
Indeed, the El Dorado County Fair is more like a family reunion – a throwback to the old-time county fairs of the 19th century, when everyone knew their neighbors. The county’s rich history is reflected in its annual get-together, and much of the tradition that was evident at the fair 130 years ago is still alive today.
“One of the most popular events is the Studebaker wheelbarrow races,” said fair manager Susan Clark. “John M. Studebaker began his automotive empire in Placerville, and he started in Gold Rush times as a blacksmith, making wheelbarrows. They staged wheelbarrow races at the fair in the old days, and that is one of the events that lives on today.”
In addition to antique standbys, such as livestock judging and exhibition, quilting, arts and crafts, haybucking, mineral and mining exhibitions and pig races, there is also a nod to the present. For the second year in a row the fair will feature computer categories, such as Web page design.
There are also recent additions such as demolition derby, motocross competition, railroad handcar races and – shades of Mark Twain – camel races.
And don’t forget to stop in and Takeout 1:
What: El Dorado County Fair
When: June 16-20
Where: El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville
Information: (530) 621-5860
Web site: http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/~fair
say hello to the emus.
One focus of the fair board this season has been to get the Lake Tahoe portion of El Dorado County involved in the fair.
“We would like to get Tahoe involved in the fair to a greater degree than they have been traditionally,” Clark said. “There’s always been this sense of Tahoe being separate from the rest of El Dorado County, because of the distance, or whatever. The fair is a good way to bring the two ends of the county together.”
Featured entertainers this year include The Nelsons, The Classic Rock All-Stars and the Mick Martin Band. There will also be a carnival.
And one shouldn’t be surprised to see a county supervisor or two officiating at Sunday’s beer tasting competition.
Wednesday is half-price night, with tickets at $2.50 for adults and $1 for children, and carnival rides are free until 6 p.m. On Thursday, children are admitted free until 6:30 p.m.
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