Ahead of the California Mid-State Fair's opening on Wednesday, the festivities are already kicking off.
The gates are set to open at 4 p.m. at the Paso Robles Event Center.
Earlier in the day, vendors were preparing for customers. Bill Campheus, owner and operator of The Tater' Patch, said he is excited to be back at the fair, after last year's plans were postponed due to the pandemic.
"We are totally prepared, excited, and we've got all the potatoes we need," Campheus said. "We've got the booth that's ready to go, all cleaned up and ready for business."
At Jimmy's Watering Hole, Bonnie Loftus said that the restaurant is excited to return to a sense of normalcy, even as pandemic precautions continue.
"We can't wait to see people," Loftus, the general manager, said.
She acknowledged that the fair's first day open may bring smaller crowds out.
"I think the fair will gear up starting today. We might be a little bit slower, which is good," Loftus added, "to get our crew all ready to remember how to serve and cook and clean."
The Mid-State Fair will run for 12 days, from July 21 to Aug. 1. Visitors can plan for carnival rides, live music, craft vendors and livestock shows, among the many events on the schedule.
At 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 4-H and FFA had their horse show at Hearst Equestrian Center.
Lucy Martin, a member of 4-H who won the Pony Fitting Groom Class with her pony Jasper, says it's amazing to be back at the fair this year.
"You are wanting to make the horse look as fit and beautiful as you can," Martin said, describing the showing process. "As showy and as pretty as you can get."
The Dairy Goat Show was held at 9 a.m. at the Paso Robles Pavilion. Emma Garett won the grand champion award in showmanship with her goat Rosie.
"You've got to prep them by washing and shaving them," she said, "and make sure they have no dirt on them whatsoever."
Garett says that factors like eye contact, foot placement, and appearance all play into the competition.
"To get first place, you have to look presentable too," she said. "You have to be really clean."
More activities lined up for the evening include quilt demonstrations, draft horse demonstrations, and the Miss California Mid-State Fair pageant.
Tickets to the Mid-State Fair are available online. The box office phone number is 805-238-3565.
The fair gates open at 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at noon Friday through Sunday. The fair closes at midnight each night.