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SJ County Fair opens 5-day run Wednesday

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SJ County Fair opens 5-day run Wednesday

Jillian Anderson of the Lathrop High FFA grooms her crossbred swine.


POSTED June 11, 2013 2:13 a.m.

STOCKTON – The San Joaquin County Fair is back after a brief run this past fall.

“It’s almost like having two fairs,” said Dani Ariaz on Monday.

She’s one of the Future Farmers of America advisors at Lathrop High. Since the weekend, Ariaz and others have been tending to their livestock projects at fairground facilities.

Ariaz, who, along with Amanda Gardner – she’s the Sierra High FFA advisor – saw both the positives and negatives of the past nine months.

“In September, we had a lot more kids showing FFA projects indoors,” she said. “In June, we have more farm animals.

“Our big concern (for June) was families leaving for their vacation.”

The fair was moved last year to the fall to accommodate horse racing. But, last November, the fair board of directors voted unanimously to switch the dates back to June after reviewing the financial numbers and attendance.

Horse racing is still in the plans but will be held separate from the fair, Sept. 19-29.

Officially, the fair begins its five-day run on Wednesday. Gone are some of the big names in entertainment – a few years ago, for example, the legendary Smokey Robinson performed here for fairgoers – replaced by local musicians coupled with motorcycle races (Thursday), Max National tractor pull (Friday), tractor pull with hay squeeze races (Saturday) and international bull riding (Sunday) at the grand stand inside the race track venue.

Jeff Barr, meanwhile, didn’t find out until December of the fair’s return to June. He and his daughter, Gabby, who is in the Ripon 4-H Club, purchased a crossbreed swine soon after.

“She’s been showing at the fair for the past three years,” he said.”But last year, she didn’t make it – her swine didn’t make weight.

“Gabby did her part by helping out the judges in the ring.”

Gabby Barr is now happy to be back with her swine project named ‘Abbazabba.’

The livestock experience at the fair is something new to Caleb Lagier. His Yorkshire ‘Shakey Tail’ weighed in at 261 pounds.

“He gained five more pounds,” said his mother, Shari. “We’ve been feeding it since we got here (on Friday).”

The livestock project has not only been educational for Caleb, who is an incoming fifth-grade student at Colony Oak School in Ripon, but also involved plenty of work.

“He’s had to constantly feed and clean (his swine),” Shari Lagier added.

Incidentally, Caleb has plans of purchasing a computer with any fair earnings from ‘Shakey Tail.’

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