Tales of the Sonoma-Marin Fair (One Day Left!)

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I just love this fair! We went opening day and had a spectacular time, as always. It’s a familiar, comfortable, classic fair that’s extremely easy to navigate. This year there were a couple of new additions to the old favorites, as well.

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Each fair visit has its own highlight. I always love the many animals at the Sonoma-Marin — goats, sheep, cows, pigs, poultry, rabbits — and the way visitors can walk around and see them, and then watch different animal events. One year, we saw a Sheep Shearing contest, which was fascinating. This year was the first time we saw a 4 H Pig Showmanship contest. We watched kids from 10-16 years old compete.

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The judge was wonderful and encouraging to every entrant. He explained to us some of the things he was looking for — command of the animal, eye contact with the judge, ease. Some pigs had clearly chosen Show Day to act up and had to be coaxed out of the ring’s corners. The participants all seemed serious and dedicated.

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This Ohio State University site shares more about pig showmanship. As usual, at the fair, I learned something about animals and their care and came away with renewed respect for farmers.

We watched this participant bathe her sheep.

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The goats were very rowdy this year, really bleating at one another.

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We visited all our other favorite animals.

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And we learned more from the wonderful displays kids had made about their animals or their 4 H projects.

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This was the first time in years that we hadn’t entered our own jam, so of course we spent a lot of time looking at the food exhibits.

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The young cake decorators were particularly impressive. This fondant cake was made by an 11-year-old.

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These TV-dinner-themed cupcakes, also made by a young person, were original and perfect.

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Still another exhibit hall featured art, collections, and other hobby work, from antique doll collecting to woodworking, by people of all ages. This apron, made by a 10-year-old, was very well done and had a nice vintage look, in fabric choice and design.

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The sky turned blue and a sliver of a moon came up. Even the Cinnamon Roll trailer, on the great midway, looked poetic and somehow Western.

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We bought kettle corn from a Ft. Worth, TX, couple we always visit. We first had their wonderful kettle corn at the California State Fair, which comes to Sacramento mid-August through Labor Day.

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Back down the midway, for another session of rides! This fair charges one admission price, which includes all the rides and exhibits, so there’s no having to stop the fun and/or pay extra for tickets for things. The games do take cash, and we always have to try our luck at those.

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Night fell, the neon of the rides came on, and more people seemed to arrive. The fair just felt more lively and exciting.

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As always, we’d been there for hours, and it was still incredibly hard to leave.

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Until next year!

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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