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Fair weathered fun begins; Placer County Fair opens

By: Bill Sullivan
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The much anticipated annual Placer County Fair opened its gates to the public Thursday evening to begin its four-day run through Sunday at the venue now known as @theGrounds, formerly the Placer County Fairgrounds. 

 The new facility that has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation is shining bright, much like the faces of many from all parts of Placer County who are excited to see the new energy being pumped into this event that badly needed it in recent years. 

Among the many excited for the opening is David Attaway, CEO of Placer Valley Tourism, which is the driving force behind this week’s event,  that is appropriately themed as the 2018 “ReNEW Your LOVE of Fair.”

“We are so excited that the fair is finally here,” said Attaway, busy all week assisting with set up, talking to vendors and livestock participants, and pitching in everywhere to help with making this new fair a shining success. “The positive feedback from the livestock association and various vendors about the renovations has been incredible. We hope you make it out to the fair to see all the new improvements and ‘ReNew Your Love of Fair.’”

Before the gates opened Thursday evening, the new energy throughout the grounds was very apparent Thursday afternoon.  As carnival rides were being polished to a bright shine, colorful banners and signs were being erected throughout the park and the savory scent of food only found at a hometown fair was present.

On the grounds’ far end, the livestock barns were bustling with activity as area 4-H participants made their animals feel at home in preparation for the competition, a component of great importance to the fair.  Feeding, washing and offering a little TLC to their critters was commonplace for participants and their family members who had set up camp on the grounds for the week.

“The place really looks amazing. We are already seeing the big changes here,” said Placer County resident Amanda Subia. Subia was there to support her daughter, Hannah Wolthius, who was busy bathing Doug, a 255-pound Berkshire swine that she has raised.

“We have been doing this for more than 12 years now between my children. It’s an important part of our lives. Through those years, we really saw the decline of the quality of the Placer County Fair; it was disheartening.  We always compared it to the fair in Auburn that was so great and, really, they are both in Placer County and should be equal.  It was just the way this place was being managed and the various politics that were involved that really hurt it.  This is great to see what we see so far and we’re excited to see how it all goes.”

Through Sunday, the Placer County Fair will be home to still exhibits, live bands, livestock and auctions.   A full midway will be filled with laughter and activity as attendees of all ages enjoy a variety of classic carnival rides and the area will be abundant with that tasty fair fare to please the palate.

 Placer Place, located inside Johnson Hall @the Grounds has partnered with the Arts Council of Placer County (ACPC), Fork ‘N Road Productions and the Placer County Vintners Association to bring this space to life with local vendors, artists, food, beverages and entertainment for fairgoers to enjoy.  The Arts Council of Placer County has secured a variety of local vendors selling handmade items, including jewelry, oil pet portraits, birdhouse, ceramics and much more.   

A Placer Wine & Ale Trail Lounge is inside Placer Place where tastings will be offered as well as local craft beer and wine by the glass exclusively from Placer County Wineries and breweries.  All 20 Placer County Wine Trail wineries and several breweries will be represented throughout the four days of the fair with opportunities to meet the winemakers and the brewers on a rotating schedule.

In addition to the vast exhibits, games and carnival rides, and tasty treats, the four-day event has a strong offering of live music and entertainment, livestock displays, scholarships and much more.  

The Placer County Fair hours are 5 to 11 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, hours are noon to 11 p.m.  Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for seniors and kids ages 6 to 16. Family packs are available that admit two adults and up to three kids for $15.  Parking is $6. For additional information, visit placercountryfair.org. Guides to all of the activities at the fair, produced by Gold Country Media, are available at the entry gates.