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Sonoma-Marin Fair opens 75th season Wednesday

  • Michael Anderson of Medford, Ore., bathes and brushes a baby goat for the petting zoo at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. The petting zoo is one of many kid-friendly events at the fair, which opens Wednesday.

While county fairs mean carnival rides and deep-fried indulgences to some people, the Sonoma-Marin Fair takes care to honor the days when agriculture was the center of most families' lives in the land of butter and eggs.

Wednesday is the opening day for the fair, which is marking its 75th anniversary this year as the showcase of livestock, crafts, foods and family-friendly fun at the farm.

The standards return: cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, the children's petting zoo, free scoops of Clover ice cream and the World's Ugliest Dog contest.

Sonoma-Marin Fair Preparations


Petaluma's fair is rare in that its admission price includes entry, all the livestock and craft exhibits, shows, carnival rides and the evening concerts.

A new culinary pavilion will highlight local chefs and their creations and — if you're lucky — sample bites.

“We'll have food and beer pairings, food and wine pairings and chef demonstrations with tips and ideas,” said fair spokeswoman Karen Spencer.

“Kid Cook” Mason Partak, 10, will demonstrate his cooking chops at 3 p.m. Wednesday, which is “kids day” at the fair.

A fun hands-on lesson about the area's agricultural history can be had in AG-Venture Land, where folks can take part in milking a cow, saddling a horse or trying their hand at a pedal tractor.

At 6 p.m., kids and big kids will be able to participate in an ice cream sundae-building contest hosted by Petaluma native Three Twins Ice Cream.

The dog races have taken a hiatus, but in their place are the just-as-popular Great American Pig Races.

“People love the pig races – they get so attached to their favorites,” Spencer said. “They run to their food, so all you have to do is put the food out. It's great fun.”

The fair's three-quarters-of-a-century history is highlighted in the Beverly C. Wilson Exhibit Hall. Local historian Katherine Rinehart has curated a wide-ranging display with fair posters, photos, 4-H uniforms, trophies and programs dating to the 1930s.

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