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It's fair time
in the 209

Every year at this time the region gets a little smaller. This phenomenon is not caused by a rip in the space-time continuum or is it a matter of geographical wonder — it’s called fair time.

Because of its appeal to young and old and those with varied interests, the fair is the ultimate gathering place. Some might say that we now have social media as a universal gathering place. One hundred years ago, the days of the fair might have been the only way to reconnect with old friends. But today, one only needs to visit Facebook and within minutes you can be reunited with everyone in your high school graduating class.

It’s true that social media has made reunions of all kinds just a few clicks away, but seeing someone face to face and sharing in the experience of the fair creates bonds that no computer screen can emulate.

The fair is also where people with like interests can meet for the first time. Sitting in the stands next to you during the demolition derby could be your next best friend, or partner. After the apple pie competition is judged, those whose passion is baking might just strike up a life-long friendship or find a new culinary partner. If you have two antique tractors sitting in your garage, then the fair is definitely the place for a little gear talk. 

The fair is also the best place to make lasting family memories. I still remember my first trip to the county fair. The corn dogs, carnival rides and farm animals were great, but the best part was walking around the fair with my mom and dad and experiencing everything together. 

I was able to pass along that experience with my own daughter, with trips to two different county fairs and two state fairs. My little girl is all grown up now, but she still makes the fair a must-go event every year with her son. To see a video of her lip syncing to Christina Aguilera at the fair when she was 12 years old, visit 209 Magazine’s website. (Just kidding; I wanted to see if she would read this!)

I am already looking forward to sharing the sights, sounds and tastes of the local fair with my grandson. This multi-generational love of the fair is not uncommon here in the 209. Take a look around during your next visit to the fair and you are sure to see happy families making life-long memories.

Here is a list of local fairs happening this summer:

Merced Fair
June 5-9

It’s going to be a Barnyard Mardi Gras at the 2024 Merced County Fair presented by Valley Children’s Healthcare. The Merced Fair will feature live music, action-packed grandstand entertainment, tasty fair food, exhibits plus so much more.

The Merced Fair concert lineup includes Tribute to George Strait (June 5), Garratt Wilkin and The Parrotheads, a celebration of Jimmy Buffet’s music (June 6), Tyler Farr (June 7), The Whispers (June 8) and La Original Banda El Limon (June 9).

For more information about all the entertainment, Grandstand Shows and ticket prices, visit

Mother Lode Fair 

June 27-30

The Mother Lode Fair will celebrate 85 years of Mines, Mills & Memories at the 2024 fair.

Arena events scheduled for the Mother Lode Fair start with truck and tractor pulls presented by L&L Productions on June 28 and 29, followed by the Motherlode Moteos Championship presented by Norcal Moto Alliance on June 30. Admission for arena events are now included in Fair tickets. 

Concerts at the Fair include 7 Summers, a Morgan Wallen tribute band (June 28), Ariel Jean Band (June 29) and Idol X, a Billy Idol tribute (June 30). Other entertainment includes cowgirl tricks with Karen Quest and Tyzen the Comedy Hypnotist.

Stanislaus County Fair
July 5-14

The 111th Stanislaus County Fair is set to open on July 5 for its 10 days and nights of arena events, entertainment, fair food, amusement rides and games and new and fan-favorite exhibits and attractions.

The 2024 Fair will feature 10-nights of free celebrity concerts included with Fair admission, a total of three stages of live entertainment, upwards of 30,000 local exhibits and over 1,750 animals.

The Fair’s mascot “Stanley” the horse will once again be welcoming visitors this year.  The fair also will be bringing back the Free Till 3 Sundays, Kids Free Night and Senior day and a Military Day.

The Stanislaus County Fair has already confirmed a majority of the acts booked for the Variety Free Stage. Coming to the Fair are Fuel (July 6), The Commodores (July 8), 38 Special (July 10), Great White (July 12), All Time Low (July 13) and La Septima Banda (July 14). There are also two other stages that will have live entertainment every day.

The Foodmaxx Arena will showcase a variety of action-packed events including the tractor pulls (July 5-6), bloodless bullfights (July 7),destruction derby (July 8 and 12), dirt drags (July 9), monster trucks (July 10-11), ranch rodeo (July 13) and Hispanic rodeo (July 14). 

Learn more about all of the bands, arena events and attractions planned for this year’s Fair at

Amador County Fair
July 25-28

Visitors are encouraged to ‘Go for the Gold’ at the 2024 Amador County Fair, being held July 25-28 at the fairgrounds in Plymouth.

A Fair Foundation pre-fair barbecue will be held at 6 p.m. July 13. 

Some of the special fair events include:

The Miss Amador & Mutton Bustin’ preliminaries will be held on July 25. The event is free with fair admission.

A special wine tasting event will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 26. Tickets are $50 for those drinking and $30 for designated drivers.

The Hot Rod Truck Pulls will be held at 7 p.m. July 27. Admission is $17.

CCPRA Rodeo will be held at 8 p.m. July 28. Reserved seating tickets are $25 and bleacher seating is $20.

The destruction derby will be held at 6 p.m. July 29. Reserved seating is $30 and bleacher seating is $25.

For more information about the fair, visit