Things Looking Up For San Joaquin County Fair

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The 2018 San Joaquin County Fair took place from June 14 to June 17.

The fairgrounds are managed by the 2nd District Agricultural Association and the fair has begun to revive after periods of suspension and attendance being on the decline for several years.

Though the duration of the annual event was five days in 2017 and four days this year, there was a crowd in attendance of 27,000, which was a good turnout.

“We had the largest concert attendance in years on Saturday night for the Dazz Band,” adds Krista McCoon, San Joaquin County Fair administrative assistant.

Favorable weather also contributed to the nice turn-out of the crowds, as well as the variety of activities and events that drew people in.

The admission price for 2018 was $10 for adults. Children ages 6 to 12 were $5 and children under 5 were free. Senior citizens, military members and students received admission for $7.

Unlimited ride wristbands could be purchased by fairgoers for $35. Advance purchase discounts were also available; some discounts were provided at a rate as much as 50 percent off, depending on where the discounts were purchased.

The San Joaquin County Fair also featured several special days, including Kid's Day, a Juneteenth African-American cultural celebration, Seniors and Disability Day and Hispanic Day, which boasted a Gran Jaripeo rodeo.

The theme for the fair this year was “Celebrating Our Country's Cultures.”
“Like most fairs, we are challenged with trying to make sure we have something for everyone,” says McCoon. “Our county is incredibly diverse and we have a relatively low median income. Therefore, we have to make sure that we are offering family fun entertainment at a reasonable price – we have to make sure the community sees value in the fair event and that we are providing a variety of new entertainment options.”


As far as entertainment goes, there were a lot of entertainment options for visitors to choose from.

Fairgoers could enjoy a variety of things to keep them occupied, including Steve's Fun Balloons, The Magic of Rafael, Cowgirl Tricks, the Skip Banks comedy group and Katia and Giddyup Productions. For kids, there was entertainment by Fusion Talent: the Pedal Tractors and the Mind Works interactive science exhibit. The Mind Works exhibit is an interactive exhibit containing dozens of displays and activities for kids. It invites participants to discover the mysterious and entertaining aspects of science through hands-on interaction.

Also new for the kids this year was AgLand – an interactive agriculture display that featured an outstanding arrangement of floriculture and horticulture exhibits as well as a section on agriculture mechanics.

Main Stage, Music & Midway

On the main stage, crowds appreciated shows by the Fresh Latino rhythm and blues band; Uptown Funk, a Bruno Mars Tribute; Jackson Michelson; Jerrod Niemann; Chains Required; Gerardo Ortiz; and The Dazz Band, which was very popular.

On the day of the fair's Juneteenth special celebration, a variety of gospel acts performed in addition to some of the acts previously mentioned.

The fair also featured special programs including the West Coast Summer Nationals Tractor Pulls and the Lodi Motorcyle Club, complete with an American Motorcycle Association sanctioned motorcycle race.

Midway rides were provided by Brass Ring Amusements/Midway of Fun. Some of the more popular rides on display included the Drop Zone, Vertigo, Zipper, Surfs Up, Century Wheel, Dizzy Dragon and Angry Birds.

“Brass Ring Amusements was up 16 percent from last year and a brand-new flying elephant ride was featured,” says McCoon. “There were also three additional new rides.”

For fair fare, more than 30 food vendors were featured on the midway. McCoon says that some of the more popular treats this year included Dole whip cream, deluxe tri-tip sandwiches and baked potatoes with all the fixings. The fair also boasted craft food and beer options.


San Joaquin County Fair's annual advertising budget is broken down with $15,000 spent on promotional, $11,000 for newspaper and $12,000 for radio.

For the Future

Though the fair may have had its share of struggles in the past, if this year's success is any indication, San Joaquin County Fair's future is now looking bright.

McCoon hopes that the solid upswing continues and has an idea of how to ensure that it does.

“We need to honor the traditions of the past, while creating new opportunities and attractions that will be traditions for future generations,” she shares. “Community support is what keeps fairs in business, and we greatly appreciate those who came out to support the fair this year. We strive to grow, improve and adapt each year to meet the needs and desires of our community.”