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Day one of the Santa Barbara County Fair kicks off at the Santa Maria Fairpark

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Posted at 7:30 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 01:38:45-04

The gates to the Santa Barbara County Fair opened to the public Wednesday afternoon and the fairgrounds quickly became packed with fairgoers in search of summer fun.

Wednesday morning, while final preparations for carnival rides and games were underway, the deep fryers were already warming up at J&M Concessions.

Kurtis Newton, supervisor of the corndog stand, says his family has been selling corndogs at the Santa Barbara County Fair for over 30 years.

"It has been what, three years since we have been out here?" Newton said. "I think just to be back is a pleasure. I think it is good for the community, good for the kids. I think it is going to be good for everybody."

Their stand is set up right across from the barns where memories were made Wednesday for 4-H and FFA members competing in the fair's full lineup of livestock showings.

"I got the reserve champion for the market hog and the reserve breed," said 16-year-old Righetti High School FFA member Hailey Liles.

"My daughter is showing a pig with the FFA Arroyo Grande High School. It is her first time," said Jenna Eastton who was at the fair with family Wednesday.

The opening day at the fair also brings exposure to local nonprofits.

"You can see we have our booth here, so it is really inviting a lot of people who don't know who we are. They can stop by, ask us questions, see about being involved with us, and learn about what we are doing," said Cynthia Signorelli, a member of Santa Barbara County CattleWomen.

Admission to the fairgrounds will cost adults $15 at the gate, and $12 for seniors and kids under 11 years old.

"We have just been conversating with people we don't even know! Everyone is just so friendly here," Eastton added.

"I think it is just good to be back," admitted Kurtis Newton.

Other vendors and game operators we spoke with said once the Santa Barbara County Fair wraps up this weekend, they will be tearing everything down and start preparing for their appearance in Paso Robles next week at the California Mid-State Fair.

Wednesday evening, the renowned cover band "Kings of Queen" will take the main stage at the fair, with a full lineup of other bands set to perform throughout the week.

The Santa Barbara County Fair takes place July 13-17 at the Santa Maria Fairpark, located at 937 S. Thornburg St.