Santa Maria - North County

Santa Barbara County Fair draws big crowds despite burning wildfires

SB Co Fair fire concerns

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The recent string of wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres in Santa Barbara County hasn't kept people from enjoying the annual county fair.

The festivities typically draws around 140,000 people a year during the five day event at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

"There was a lot of smoke, we could see the wildfire (as we were setting up)" says John DePortillo, a crew worker who says the air was hazy as they prepared for the fair last week.

As the smoke cleared, the crowds made their way to the Santa Maria Fairpark. 

 "There was tons of people here," says DePortillo, who also worked the fair last year. "Probably the most I have seen."

Carnival rides brought families to the park, while students from dozens of local FFA groups showed off hundreds of livestock for auction. Big music acts like Leann Rimes brought in the crowds Saturday night. 

The Santa Barbara County Fair has been a part of the Central Coast for 126 years.

"Theres been a buzz throughout the whole week," says Shelly Cone, the public information officer for the Santa Maria Fairpark. 

"People look forward to this from the beginning of summer, and they just get kind of wrapped up in the fact that its fair time."

Fair numbers for this year will be tallied next week. 

"People make an effort to come out and enjoy the fair, no matter what," says Cone. "It is tradition for so many families." 

The fair has been going on in Santa Barbara County since 1891.


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