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Placer County Fair organizer bringing back "community feel"

Fair runs Thursday through Sunday at fairgrounds in Roseville
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Throughout California, fairs are at risk.

In 2011, the state eliminated fair funding from its budget. That meant the loss of $200,000 in government assistance last year and this year for the Placer County Fair, said local fair organizer John Javidan.

But that hasn't stopped Javidan from creating what he says will be an awesome event for the whole family. The Press Tribune sat down with Javidan to get his take on the event, which opens Thursday, June 21.

What is this year's theme?

Race to the fair.

What does that mean?

We have the NASCAR track, and (this theme) promotes the racetrack. We'll have race cars all over the fairgrounds. Some of the race cars will be hosted by a person and kids can get in them and take pictures.

What is going to be the most exciting part of the fair?

Just the overall energy. The stages are packed. If you go to the beer garden, there's always something going on. If you go to the community stage, there's always something going on. If you go to the kids' stage, there's always something going on. The pageant stage, every evening except Sunday, there's something going on. The grandstands - every day there's something going on.

The shopping is a lot more than it's been for a long time. Then the food. I've always considered food - not that I'm a cook or anything - my specialty at events. I bring good food to events. This year, we have a food court and it's a great atmosphere.

That's all I think about - atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere. When I used to come to the fair, you'd walk through, see everything and leave. You're not going to do that this year. You're going to come and you're going to get stuck.

We have a zip line, bumper balls and miniature golf for kids, and it's only $1. The train rides are only $1. So there are cheap options to entertain the little kids. If you go to the carnival, it gets a little more expensive but those are all the big mechanical rides. We have the big, big Ferris wheel this year.

We (also) have a shaded picnic area. I figured patrons deserve to have a place to sit down that's shaded besides the beer garden. It's hot. We need to admit that.

Any other big changes from last year?

Well, Smash Mouth. That's big. They're a late 90s, early 2000 bands but they have a single releasing (this) week. So that's perfect for us.

The Mixed Martial Arts fights. That's not new to the fair but they haven't done that for a few years. The fight is amateur. We have 16 fights. Two of them are the super-heavy weights and three are title fights.

Are you going to have lawnmower races again?

No lawnmower races. They sound exciting, but they weren't. Did you watch them?

No, I didn't.

OK, see. It sounds like, 'ooh, you're racing a lawnmower,' but it wasn't that exciting. Last two years, they had monster trucks and tractor pulls. I just wanted it to be new and fresh. With the layout, I pretended like I didn't even know how it was before. When I finally pieced it together, I love it so much and can't wait to see how it's going to be.

Ooh, our exhibit hall. We have to talk about that. We're doing a focus on women of Placer County.

Did you go to fairs growing up?

Oh yeah. My neighbor - I grew up in Rio Linda - loved this fair. He loved the community feel. So that's what I really want to bring back (over time). I want all the food vendors run by nonprofits. I want all the services run by nonprofits - the ticket booths, gates, parking, events in the grandstands. I want every single organization in Roseville to not only help the fair, but to benefit from the fair. That's how a fair used to be and that's how I want it to be again.

The fair hasn't been that good and I think the reason why is when you come here you want to meet your neighbors and hang out with your friends and run into old friends and that's what the fair is supposed to be.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Placer County Fair 2012

When: 3-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 21-22, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24

Where: Placer County Fairgrounds, 800 All America City Blvd. in Roseville

Cost: Admission is $5 adults, $3 seniors 60 and over and kids 12 and under. Smash Mouth $20, general admission $30 and ringside $45 Mixed Martial Arts, $13 Speedway Open Wheel Races and Enduro Race, Carnival wristbands $20.

Info: For complete schedule, see www.placercountyfair.org