SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The 123rd Santa Barbara County Fair opened its doors to huge crowds who packed the Santa Maria Fairpark under perfect weather conditions. Many of the fairgoers came out to take advantage of Dollar Day, a long-running fair tradition. General admission, as well as carnival rides, cost just one dollar, a price that was particularly popular for families.
""It's such a great deal. It doesn't get any better than that. It's better than Disneyland, I'm at the happiest place on earth right now!" said Cythnia Rayas, who was visiting the fair with her two children.
Veronica Leach from Orcutt was also taking advantage of Dollar Day on Wednesday. "Dollar day is always a fun day to come out and be able to do more for your money. It's fantastic. Last year was the first we came out and enjoyed the day," said Leach.
Also popular with fairgoers were several new attractions that were brought in for free entertainment. That included the Pharaoh's Egyptian Exhibit, which featured several exotic animals, including a hairless cat. "You get all kinds of reactions like, oh my goodness, that's amazing or most of the time, it's so ugly, but they say like it's so cute," said Nica Lesson, an employee with Pacific Animal Productions.
Across the fair was another new attraction featuring sea lions. "It's fun and educational for the whole family. We have four sea lions, so we talk about why they're sea lions and not seals, we also talk about pollution because our sea lions have been beach stranded and they can't be released, so we talk about why it's important to save the environment," said Beccy Hughes, a trainer with Sea Lion Splash.
In addition, there is a NASCAR simulator and an interactive family game show. All new attractions are free with general admission. Also free is entertainment on the KCOY Main Stage, including Morris Day and the Time on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Other free acts include country star Wynonna on Thursday, rock band Kansas on Friday and country singer Rodney Atkins on Saturday.. A destruction derby will be held in Minetti Arena on Saturday. However, separate tickets must be purchased to watch what should be a popular show.
The Santa Barbara County Fair will run through Sunday, July 13th. Gates open at 11:00 a.m. each day and will close at 10:00 p.m. The carnival will remain open until Midnight each night.