Ten Things Kids should Do and See at this Year’s California State Fair

When the California State Fair rolls around each July in Sacramento, thousands flock to Cal Expo for guilty-pleasure fair food, free lively entertainment, exciting games, thrilling rides and some all around serious fun. The fair is always a good time, no matter what you see and do. But if you’ve got kids and want to make the most of your time and money, here are some suggestions of things to do and see with your kids.

  1. DOWNLOAD THE STATE FAIR APP. First and foremost, download the California State Fair app before you even step foot on the fair grounds. This is a great resource to help you navigate all that is offered. Need a map of the grounds to scout out where the closest restroom is? You got it. Want to know where to get the best cold lemonade? The app will tell you. Looking for your favorite vendor? Piece of cake. Don’t want to miss out on the Crowing Contest? You can add it to your schedule and receive an “alert” when the event is about to begin.
  2. READ TO RIDE. I mention this every year, but still there are people who don’t know about this offer. Butler Amusements, Inc. – the company that provides the rides at the fair, wants to encourage kids to read with the Read to Ride program. Kids in grades K through 8th will receive two free rides for having read two books. Download this form here, have your kiddos write a summary of the books they read, then bring the forms to Guest Services at the front gate to receive two ride passes. Each child is eligible to receive two passes each day they visit the fair.
  3. GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT. Have fun and collect swag by completing the #50thFairHunt – a fair scavenger hunt that sends you on nine different picture-taking errands throughout the fair. You can find the directions to the scavenger hunt on the CA State Fair app. Once complete, show your digital photo card at any one of the info booths to collect your prize.
  4. EXPLORE THE DINOSAUR EXPEDITION. Head to Expo Building 4 for up close and personal views of 14 animatronic dinosaurs, exhibit walls, displays, artifacts and interactive fun.
  5. SAFELY CLIMB A TREE. If it makes you a little nervous when your kids climb trees, then take them over to the Whale Tale exhibit for a TreeCircus Climb. Sponsored by the US Forest Service, kids can learn how to climb trees like the professionals – safely.  This fun and free exhibit puts kids (and kids at heart) in the climbing ropes in a cool, air-conditioned environment.
  6. INDULGE YOUR TASTE BUDS. Believe it or not, you can feed the kids at the fair without breaking the bank. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 11am and 4pm, hungry fair-goers can fill their tummies with smaller versions of their favorite foods for only $2. Which means you can eat more than one of your favorites. Score. Check out the menu here.
  7. SEE A VIDEO SHOW ON THE CAL EXPO WATER TOWER. Each night at 8:45 pm, turn your heads to the famous Cal Expo water tower to see a fun video show project.
  8. VISIT THE TIME CAPSULE EXHIBIT. The California State Fair at Cal Expo is celebrating its 50th birthday. Artifacts from fairs past are going into a s special time capsule, to be opened in 2067. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your kids visited again 50 years from now when it’s opened again?
  9. GET YOUR CRAFT ON AT THE CA FOREST CENTER. Take some down time in the serene California Forest Center while learning about the state’s trees and sustainable forests. Relax, learn, craft, see animals and watch chainsaw demonstrations.
  10. STICK AROUND FOR WEEKEND FIREWORKS. What better way to end a fun-filled day out at the California State Fair than to celebrate with a fireworks show? At closing time – 10 pm on each Friday and Saturday night, look towards the Miller Lite Grandstand to see a spectacular array of fireworks presented by Dish.

What: California State Fair

When: July 14-23, 2017

Where: Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA

Tickets: Starting at $8 per person, with special promotional days for children, first responders, military and senior citizens. Check here for more info.



The Best of the California State Fair with Kids

The California State Fair is upon us – the much-anticipated summer event begins tomorrow, July 8 and runs through Sunday, July 24, 2016. That’s over two weeks of food and fun with the family. If you would like to know the ins and outs of getting the most out of the fair with the kids, take a look at this blog post over at Visit Sacramento: The Best Things to do with Kids at the California State Fair in Sacramento. Meanwhile, here’s some fair photos to get your mouth-watering. Enjoy!

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Make Memories at the Fair this Summer!

placer_county_fair_2014Summer is here…and that means summertime memories are about to be made!  Nothing screams summer fun more than the local fair.  Between the cotton candy, carnival rides and livestock shows, there is something fun for all ages at any one of the Sacramento region’s local fairs.

Here is a list of the local upcoming events:

  1. El Dorado County Fair’s “Cowboys and Carousels” will run June 16-19 at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville.
  2. Placer County Fair will run from June 23-26 at the Roseville Fairgrounds.
  3. Annual California State Fair makes its famous appearance July 8-24 at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.
  4. Amador County will host “Saluting the Heroes among Us” at Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth from July 28-31.
  5. From August 1“-14 you can “Kick it Up” at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.
  6. Yolo County hosts “the original free gate fair” at the Yolo County Fairgrounds Woodland from August 17-21.

So grab your kids and get ready for some corn dogs, funnel cake and head out to the local fair and make some family memories this summer!

By Heather Crivellone

California State Fair Animals


Sacramento Summer Events Your Family Won’t Want To Miss

Summer is a great time to be in Sacramento. Sure, some of the days are pretty warm, but that just makes for better swim parties with friends. And the evenings and nights lend themselves perfectly to being outside relaxing by the pool, eating at a street-side café, or taking a stroll along the Sacramento or American Rivers. There are also an abundance of family friendly events and activities all summer long, many of which are free (woo hoo!) Take a look at this list and make your plans now to enjoy a wonderful summer with your family.


6/5 – Promenade of Mermaids in Old Sacramento, FREE

6/11 – Family Day at Safetyville, FREE

6/16 – 6/19 – Wizard World Comic Con at the Sacramento Convention Center

6/18 – Pop-Up Adventure Play Day at Fairytale Town, FREE

6/19 – Father’s Day at the Museum at the California Automobile Museum, FREE for dads and grandpas

6/25 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ice Cream Fantasy at Fairytale Town

6/25 – Mega Family Expo at the Scottish Rite Center

6/27 – Family Field Day at Raley Field, FREE

Promenade of Mermaids Sacramento


7/2 – Fishing Day at Howe Park

7/3 – International Celebration at Fairytale Town

7/8 – 7/24 – California State Fair

7/31 – Cat and the Fiddle Music Festival at Fairytale Town

Misc Photos from 2011-2012 382


8/19 – Screen on the Green outdoor movie at South Natomas Community Park

8/20 – Screen on the Green outdoor movie at Glenn Hall Park

8/20-8/21 – 7th Annual Banana Festival at Shasta Park



9/2 – 9/3 – Sacramento Greek Festival at the Sacramento Convention Center

9/3 – 9/5 – Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento, FREE

9/24 – Farm-to-Fork Festival on Capitol Mall, FREE

Gold Rush Days 2015

Ongoing Summer Events

Fire Station Open Houses – Each Saturday 6/4 – 8/27 (no open house on 7/2). FREE

Family Bike Nights at Safetyville – Each Thursday and Friday throughout the summer beginning 6/16 & 17 and end 8/25 & 8/26. FREE

Family Overnight Safari at the Sacramento Zoo – Friday nights, 6/11 – 8/5

Family Campout at Fairytale Town – 6/17, 7/23 and 8/12

Family Fridays at the Crocker Art Museum – 7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22, 7/29


Weekend Family Fun

Sacramento Weekend Family Activities

It’s looks like the weather is going to give us a wonderful break from the heat this weekend – the perfect time to head straight to Cal Expo for the California State Fair, which begins today. You might also want to stop by Fire Station #11 to meet the firefighters, learn about your favorite reptiles at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center or immerse yourself in art at Fairytale Town. There’s really no way to go wrong this weekend!

California State Fair – Bring the family down to Sacramento’s Cal Expo for the 162nd Annual California State Fair. The seventeen-day California State Fair is a  celebration of the State of California, its industries, agriculture and diversity of its people. For many, the State Fair is the culmination of hard work throughout the year. For others, the State Fair is a family summer tradition of enjoyment with plenty of entertainment, fascinating exhibits, popular livestock venues, and mouth-watering food! 7/11 – 7/26. For hours and admission information, click here.

Seussical the Musical – This show is 85 minutes of high-falutin’ musical family fun with the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude Mc Fuzz, the Whos down in Whoville, and many other characters created by the beloved Dr. Seuss. 7/10 – 7/12. Admission fees start at $6 for kids, $12 for adults.

Fire Station Open House – Bring your families out to Sacramento Fire Station #11 on Florin Road to meet the firefighters and medics who protect your neighborhood. Tour the station, get an up-close look at the trucks, engines, ambulances, and fire equipment and gear that your first responders use every day. 7/11, 2-4 pm. FREE.

Arts for All Day at Fairytale Town – Presented by I Can Do That!, this visual arts show will bring together children of all ages and abilities to interact through art. Stop by the “funshops” to make flying saucers, rhumba shakers, pipe cleaner jewelry, spiral mobiles, and more. 7/11, 11 am to 3 pm. General admission is $5.50, children under 1 year are free.

The Bloom Tree at Fairytale Town – Bring the kids out to see The Bloom Tree, a tale from China about listening to the little things in life featuring an unlikely group of characters working together for the common good. The show begins with a special musical presentation. 7/11 – 7/12, 12:30pm, 1:30 pm & 2:30 pm, $2 for nonmembers, $1 for members (in addition to park entrance fee.)

Treerific Fun at the Discovery Museum – There is a lot of tree-rific fun to be had at the Discovery Museum. Learn about the trees around the museum by enjoying a Nature Trail walk. Discover the age of trees by counting their rings. There will be large specimens outside and smaller ones to view in the classroom. Kids make their own tree cookie necklace to take home as a souvenir! 7/11 – 7/12, 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm. Free with cost of Admission.

Scale Tales at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Learn all about our scaly creatures. Can a turtle climb out of its shell? Do snakes blink? Can you really tell the age of a rattlesnake by the number of buttons on its rattle? Discover all this and more in this program for all ages. 7/12, 1:30 – 2:30 pm.

Family Fun at the 2015 California State Fair

One of the most anticipated events of the summer here in Sacramento is right around the corner. The California State Fair rolls into town Friday, July 10, 2015 and is here to stay for 17 fabulous days of fun and excitement. Grab the kids and head on down to Cal Expo for the making of some wonderful family memories. Here’s our list of family friendly events at this year’s State Fair that you won’t want to miss.


Old Favorites

Kids Park – Located on the east side of the fairgrounds, Kids Park is a kid-friendly, more low-key area of the park for games and rides. Perfect for kiddos 8 years and younger.

Camp Smokey – Camp Smokey is a fun, interagency fire prevention program that teaches fire safety to kids. Visit Smokey the Bear’s cabin for puppet shows, instruction on “stop, drop and roll” and earn your very own Camp Smoky Bandana by learning how to safely exit “smoke-filled” rooms.

The Farm – check out the California State Fair’s 3-acre farm for food tastings and to learn about natural foods through a variety of exhibits.

The Farm at the California State Fair

Baby Barn – one of the most popular animal attractions at the fair, in the baby barn you can witness the miracle of birth, gush over newly born piglets or lambs, and earn to milk a cow. Your kids will love the baby barn!

Petting Zoo – get up close and personal with some of the fair’s favorite animals. Goats, bunny rabbits, lambs, chickens, you name it. Your kids will enjoy making friends with some of the cutest animals around.

California State Fair Animals

Special Exhibits

Tech Trek – Experience the newest exhibit in the Expo Center, Tech Trek: Science Fiction to Science Fact. Tech Trek examines and celebrates the past, present and future of technologies inspired by science fiction and pop culture. Tech Trek offers fun, interactive areas that the whole family will enjoy. Explore the wonders of science and technology just by playing and experimenting. Tech Trek will also house a Stop Motion Studio and 8 Foot Zoetrope, where Fair goers can see pictures come to life. Don’t forget to say hi to Baxter, Tech Trek’s fun, interactive robot.

Minds in Motion – Minds in Motion will feature teen-friendly exhibits exploring the wonder of science and animals. Visitors can check out the giant chess set, Rube Goldberg machine, dexterity testers, velocity tunnel and much more at this hands-on exhibit. Get creative in the Maker’s Fair area, or just relax in the hang out area. Unique live animal displays help bring science and learning to life. Discover what makes bird flight possible, how the armadillo protects itself from prey and more in this fascinating display of the animal kingdom.

Dream Big – Explore, create, play in the Dream Big exhibit. Visitors are encouraged to Dream Big and explore the possibilities of the Golden State in this comfortable, family friendly environment. Here kids play and just be kids while learning what makes California great. There’s Family Story Time, Play Time Adventures, Dream Big Photo Vignettes, Dream Big Theater, Mommy Lounge and Snack Shack.

Beach Buddy Adventure – sponsored by the California Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail Licence Plate Fund, fair-goers will have the opportunity to watch see some of the California coast’s resident animals. Watch playful river otters, bald eagles, pelicans, a spiny lobster and a tule elk. Once you pull yourself away from those cute otters, make sure to check out the giant sandcastle and learn about the different sands found along the coast. Check out all the different station to earn your official Beach Buddy Badge.

River Otters at the California State Fair


Freestyle Motorcross – Cal Expo has drained the Main Lagoon to conserve water, opening it up to high-flying aerial dare devils. Catch a Jack in the Box Freestyle Motocross show each of the 17 Fair days for free. Daily shows include top name athletes, music and an emcee calling tricks and giving fans an up-close and personal look at extreme riding.

Demolition Derby – The Demolition Derby is a must-see if you love cars or just seeing them smash into one another. Get a front row seat for one of the most entertaining and destructive events the Fair has to offer. Come watch wild drivers wreck their way to victory in this up close and personal venue. Many cars will enter, but only one driver will exit a winner.

Demolition Derby at the California State Fair

Splash Dogs: Watch water-loving dogs from all over the state compete for the longest and farthest jump at the Splash Dogs Dock. This family friendly competition is perfect for pet-lovers and animal enthusiast alike. Fair goers can also get in on the fun by entering their own dogs in the Splash Dogs Competition. Friendly dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcome to compete for a variety of titles.


TreeCircus – See the world from a tree’s perspective with the TreeCircus and TreeCircus Climbing Experience. Daring fair goers will have the chance to climb vertical ropes in this high-flying exhibit. If you would rather stay on the ground, enjoy climbing demonstrations and high-energy stage show featuring extreme tree advocate and entertainer Tim Womick and world-class tree climber and arborist Chad Brey. Also joining the fun on stage is everyone’s favorite Treeture, Arbor E. Tum, who is sure to entertain and educate the whole family.

Nightly Concerts: Enjoy free concerts each night of the fair on the Golden 1 Stage. The Toyota Concert Series includes performers such as Martina McBride, Air Supply, .38 Special, Ashanti, and more.

Specials & Discounts

FREE Admission: children ages 4 and under

Wells Fargo Kids Days: Each Tuesday of the fair, kids ages 12 and under are FREE; rides are just $2

Senior Savings Fridays: Adults ages 62 and older receive discount admission of $8 and ride FREE on the Grand Carousel and the Giant Wheel.

Youth Leadership Day: Monday, July 13 – youth will enjoy activities catered to future leaders.

Military & Veteran Appreciation Day: Thursday, July 16 – Admission is FREE for all military personnel with ID.

First Responders Appreciation Day: Thursday, July 23 – Admission is FREE for all first responders with ID.

Family fun Pack:  includes 4 daily admission tickets, 4 carnival ride or monorail tickets and 1 parking pass for $49.99.

Blue Ribbon Season Pass:  Includes State Fair admission, Raging Waters admission during the Fair, unlimited Monorail rides and Horse Racing reserved seating (for adults only) for $49.99 per person.

State Fair Season Pass: Includes State Fair admission and Raging Waters admission during the Fair for $29.99 per person.

Ride Wristbands: unlimited rides Monday-Friday for $30. Unlimited rides on Saturday and Sunday, $35.

*Purchase tickets before 7/9 for discounted prices.

Fairs, Festivals and Fun this Summer around the Sacramento region!

By Heather Crivellone

Its official. Summer is here!  Teachers are kicking up their heels, kids are tossing out their school books and parents are scrambling to figure out what to do with their family over the next couple of months.  No need to worry – between fairs, festivals and just good old summer fun… we have you covered.  Here is a list of some upcoming events around the city to mark on your calendars for some family fun:

  1. El Dorado County Fair’s “Hog Days of Summer” will run June 18-21 at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville.El Dorado County Fair
  2. Placer County Fair’s theme “There’s No Place Like Placer” will run from June 25-28 at the Roseville Fairgrounds.
  3. 161st Annual California State Fair makes its famous appearance July 10-26 at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.CA State Fair O5 (29)
  4. Amador County will host “Country Tunes and Midway Blooms” at Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth from July 23-26.
  5. From August 12-16 you can “Catch the Fair Bug” at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.
  6. Yolo County hosts “the original free gate fair” at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland from August 19-23.

If you are looking for something other than corn dogs, funnel cakes and midway rides, then check out some of our famous food festivals that highlights our region’s top producing crops:

  1. Sloughhouse Davis Ranch 7th Annual Corn Festival from July 11-12 at 13211 Jackson Road in Sloughhouse.
  2. Marysville Peach Festival from July 17-18 in historic downtown Marysville.Marysville Peach Festival
  3. 37th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 24 at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy.
  4. Cortland Pear Fair on July 26 in downtown Cortland.
  5. 5th Annual Sacramento Banana Festival from August 8-9 at William Land Park in Sacramento.Banana-Festival-2013-Art-Exhibit3[1]
  6. 10th Annual Fair Oaks Chicken Festival on September 19 at Fair Oaks Park.

You will enjoy live entertainment, rides, demonstrations, exhibits, rodeos, concerts and so much more at these festivals- so mark your calendars with one of more of these legendary Sacramento area events and enjoy making memories with your family this summer.