The Merced County Fair opens today, featuring jam-packed daily lineups of entertainment and activities designed to delight folks of all ages.
With a theme this year of "Thank You Veterans," the fair will have a number of tributes to those who have served in the military, including an opening-day flagpole dedication and moment of silence.
The fair runs through Sunday at the Merced County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Merced.
Staying with last year's popular change, the fair will keep ticket prices at $5. All children ages 5 and under are free, and active-duty military members in uniform will also get in free.
In addition to that, seniors 65 years or older get free admission on today for Mercy Medical Center Seniors' Day. Children 12 and under are free on Educational Employees Credit Union's Kid's Day on Thursday.
Grandstand events will get under way nightly at 7 p.m., featuring auto races, tractor pulls, demolition derby and more. Grandstand events are $5, with children 5 and under admitted for free.
Donating two cans of food per person to the Merced County Food Bank today will gain free admittance to the auto races. The rodeo and variety show costs $20, with kids 10 and under admitted for free.
Besides the usual rides, games, livestock auctions, art and food, there will be free nightly shows and events. Cooking competitions, dance shows and nonheadliner musical performances will also take place daily.
The free Outdoor Theatre Concert Series is also likely to be a popular venue with a variety of acts slated to perform, from '70s and '80s rock-pop group Pablo Cruise to Mexican singer Korina Lopez.
The reasonable prices coupled with a full lineup of entertainment for all five nights should appeal to the masses.