Fair’s a Hit

The votes have been totaled, the ribbons have been awarded and
the mooing, naying and oinking have ceased, but many will remember
the fun and excitement of the 82nd annual San Benito County Fair
for years to come.
By Brett Rowland Staff Writer

Tres Pinos – The votes have been totaled, the ribbons have been awarded and the mooing, naying and oinking have ceased, but many will remember the fun and excitement of the 82nd annual San Benito County Fair for years to come.

Cotton candy aside, the sweetest part of the fair for 6-year-old Haylie Stelling was victory.

Stelling took the blue ribbon in the contest to lasso a fake steer and will be back next year, hopefully for more prizes, and definitely for more cotton candy, she said.

Demolition Derby champion Kevin Knox has already sent his “demolished” 1972 Lincoln Continental to the junk yard, but he won’t soon forget his victory. Knox, president of the Hollister chapter of the Top Hatters Motorcycle Club, used a simple strategy to win first place in this year’s demolition derby.

“Gas it. Just put the accelerator to the floor – the more hits, the more points you get,” he said.

The four-day event brought about 24,000 people to Bolado Park in Tres Pinos last weekend, Fair Manager Kelley Ferreira said. The fair drew just as many people last year, he said.

As always, the junior livestock auction proved to be one of the most memorable events of the weekend. The auction is one of the biggest events of the year for local 4-H and Future Farmer of American members. Before the auction, the animals are judged. Animals that win a Champion or Reserve Champion designation usually fetch the highest prices at auction.

The auction was particularly important this year for Fairview 4-H Club member Adaline Padlina, who is donating $500 from the sale of her goat to the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Fund.

“I figured the Red Cross needed the money more than I did,” she said.

The junior livestock auction brought in more than $337,000 from the sale of 246 animals this year, volunteer Susie Knoll said. That is nearly $100,000 more than last year, she said.

In the end, the fair is more about family and friends than winning and losing, said Allison Renz, who has been coming to the San Benito County Fair with her family for more than 20 years.

“I’ve been coming to the fair for as long as I can remember,” she said. “It’s a tradition and there’s always something you can remember each year by – you always have fond memories.”

The San Benito County Fair was started in 1890 as a harvest-time gathering. Throughout its history, the fair has often been plagued by heavy rains, something Ferreira and others were pleased to avoid this year. And while the location of the fair has changed several times over the years, Ferreira said the event retains its agrarian roots.

This year, Renz and her sister Shannon competed in several events including the stock horse show and cattle sorting event. Although unsure of how well she and her sister performed this year, Renz was certain that she will be back next year.

“I love it,” she said. “I love being able to ride horses and visit with friends and neighbors that I don’t get to see every day.”

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