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The sights, sounds, and smells of the 2013 San Joaquin County Fair
Vintage John Deere and other brand tractors from the 1930s and 1940s are inspected by a couple of San Joaquin County Fair visitors. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO


• PLACE: San Joaquin County Fair
• DATES: Now through Sunday
• LOCATION: Fairgrounds at Airport Way and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Stockton.
• HOURS OF OPERATION: Buildings, noon to 10 p.m.; midway, noon to midnight; carnival, noon to midnight; exhibit and livestock, noon to 10 p.m.
• ADMISSION: $3 for adults, 13 and older; children 12 and under, free
• INFORMATION: click on to

STOCKTON — Cupcakes, cacti, tractors and quilts, oh my! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the San Joaquin County Fair now in full swing is all about.

There’s a plethora of attractions and interactive activities for the young ones and young once at this annual ag-oriented event which just returned to its old summer schedule. The event was moved to September last year, but fair organizers quickly returned the popular summer attraction back to June when avid fair-goers voted with their feet that sent the attendance to a dismal decline.

So, it’s back to June for the fair this year, and Melissa Meharg of Manteca could not be happier.

“I like it better in June because it’s not in the school season and the kids can come with their parents to the fair,” said Meharg who, along with her mom Linda, are among the many regular volunteers who make this annual event a perennial success.

“We died big time. We had low entries and low admissions, but that’s just an opinion,” noted Mantecan Marilyn Lindberg, a staunch supporter of the fair and the supervisor of Building 5 where the Home Arts Division exhibits are displayed.

That evidently is not the case this time.

“I’m really impressed this year,” said Meharg about the enthusiasm she has seen among parents and young children bringing entries to the various competitions at the fair, and the brisk visitors’ traffic at the door to the exhibits.

One teacher actually came to the fair with several kids who brought their art works for display, she said.

Those who are into antique and vintage tractors can feast their eyes on the collection of rare farming machinery displayed in the area between the horticulture and home arts buildings. They are courtesy of Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association, Inc. – Branch 6. Among those on display is a 1936 Minneapolis Moline JTS currently owned by David Graham of Modesto. According to the information accompanying the display, there were only 469 of these tractors made – 322 of them made in 1936 and 147 in 1937. Two other displays are a 1937 John Deere Model AW and a 1942 Massey – Harris 81 (originally priced at $1,100) from Fowler, Calif., where it was put to use mostly in vineyards.

For fair visitors Sarah King and daughter Liz, the attraction that they find most entertaining is the pig races.

“It’s very fun! I like it a lot,” said Liz King who is originally from Stockton but now lives in Hawaii.

While they came to watch the pig races and to admire the vintage tractors, Sarah King confessed, laughing, “We came for the food!”

Like any carnival, the county fair offers a wide selection of food – from hotdogs and tacos to cool summer treats such as flavored shaved ice and Sno-cones.

Musical sights and sounds also abound. For starters, there’s Suzy Haner Stage, the Silver Bullet Stage, and the Family Fun Zone Stage where families can spend quality time together drinking in the sights and sounds of such artists as the California Cowboys (performing at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Sunday), Scotty & Trink scheduled to entertain fairgoers on Sunday at 1, 2:30, 4 and 5 p.m. also on  Sunday, and the Karaoke Band. Catch the powerful vocals of Manteca’s own Idol winner Cheyenne Millegan on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on the Family Fun Zone Stage.