Opening day on the way

© 2018-Register-Pajaronian

More than 70,000 expected at Santa Cruz County Fair

WATSONVILLE — For many, the Santa Cruz County Fair is an event as timeless as the local agricultural community that inspires it.

While people come to watch the Alaskan Pig Races, see musical performances and monster truck demonstrations and gorge on sugary, fried and savory fair food, it is agriculture that is the lifeblood of the event.

Young people show and auction off the animals they spent months raising, while farmers display the latest agricultural devices and techniques and products.

Those hoping to see newborn animals won’t be disappointed. Two calves and a foal, along with their mothers, are a highlight of the livestock display.

Visitors can browse quilts, jams and jellies, giant pumpkins, award-winning photographs and artwork. Also on tap are bonsai demonstrations, craft beer, a hypnotist and the Wild West Turkey Stampede.

New this year in the food arena is Willamette Valley Pie Company, which will be dishing up several different varieties of pies and cobblers.

Also new this year is the Drone Zone, where prospective pilots can spend some time with a simulator to get a feel for piloting a drone, and then have a chance to fly the real thing. 

Santa Cruz County Fair Manager Dave Kegebein said he discovered the drone company recently at a national county fair convention.

“That should be really fun, I think a lot of people get really excited about it,” he said.

Kegebein said that visitors can revel in the “grand traditions of camel rides and pig races.”

In addition, he said the fair is bringing back a rideable train that goes through the fairgrounds.

“I think we offer an amazing variety of entertainment for the admission price,” Kegebein said. “There are so many things to do.”


The 2017 fair runs Wednesday through Sunday at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds located on Highway 152 just east of Watsonville. For information, visit

The fair opens Wednesday at 12 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 to 12.

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