Fall Fair opens tonight

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Fall Fair opens tonightNew attractions, returning favorites and an unparalleled concert lineup promise family fun during the Desert Empire Fairgrounds Fall Fair, returning Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18-20.

DEF Executive Director Chip Holloway said that the popular event was originally scheduled to move forward on the theme “Family Fun, Food and Farm Animals.”

“But after the shaky July events, the board decided to memorialize 2019 with a new theme borrowed from the community,” said Holloway.

In honor of the 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude quakes, the fair has been rebranded under the popular “Shaken, Not Stirred” and “Ridgecrest Rocks” catchphrases.

“If ever a community needed a fun-filled, family-friendly experience, the residents of Ridgecrest, Trona and the entire IWV do,” said Holloway.

This effort to draw together residents after the recent disaster builds on similar endeavors hosted by the city and other key organizations that have brought free dinner, movies and school supplies to the affected residents.

Holloway said that one of the most exciting aspects of this year’s fair is the $90,000 investment toward new asphalt and concrete in the entryway and walking paths along the fairgrounds.

“One of the complaints we received was from people with wheelchairs and walkers who had difficulty navigating,” he said. “So in terms of the safety aspect, this is a big improvement. But the overall appearance is also so much nicer.”

He said that Friends of the Fair paid upwards of $55,000 toward the costs of the project. Dave Pruitt Trucking and Backhoe, Patterson Masonry and Jeff Grosshardt of 7-11 donated the remaining time, materials and labor.

“From an entertainment standpoint, I think this is our best fair yet,” said Holloway. “We have pulled out all the stops this year with an entertainment budget over $50,000! We have something for everyone, but especially the kids.”

He said the fair has the best entertainment yet for its stage, which will be graced by CCR tribute band “Bad Moon Rising,” Buck Ford in a spot-on George Strait tribute, local favorite “The Sheleighlys” and the Bruno Mars tribute “Uptown Funk.”

“Close your eyes and you won’t believe it’s not the real deal,” said Holloway.

Other entertainers include Hypnotist Tina Marie, Jack Sparerib’s Pirate Show and Freddy Prez with his crazy kid’s gameshow, the Alaskan Racing Pigs.

New this year is a children’s Tractor Pull contest and Sadie’s Jungle Review in Desert Valleys Hall.

“Keep your eyes peeled as you navigate the grounds for Angus the Friendly Indominus Rex Dinosaur, Buck Trout in his comedy camper with crazy stories and antics galore and the Balloon Lady roaming the grounds with incredible creations that everyone will love.”

Two other can’t-miss stops are the Sting Ray Experience and Butterfly Kingdom, where fairgoers will have opportunities to feed and interact with these majestic creatures.

Butler will return to provide the midway rides and games.

“In between all the great shows, feast on all the incredible fair food, enjoy an adult beverage and check out our vendors — including many local home-based businesses. Drop a little cash so we can get them back.”

Another returning favorite is the Desert Destruction Derby, which will be held Sunday at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $20, which includes the entry fee to the fair that day.

The Junior Livestock Show is expected to be packed with animals this year.

This event represents months of planning and hard work by local and visiting 4-H youth.

“Check out the new pens and updated lighting,” said Holloway.

“There are many ways to show support for the youth involved in market animal projects,” said Livestock Chair Curtis Moore. “One of the biggest ways you can show your support is to be a bidder and a buyer.”

The auction will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m. in the Richard H. Boyle Show Arena.

For a full schedule of events and attractions, or to obtain more information about the purchase of presale wristbands and tickets, visit desertempirefair.com.

Pictured: The Desert Empire Fairgrounds will open its gates for the annual Fall Fair tonight. For tickets or more information, visit desertempirefair.com. — News Review file photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2019-10-18