Boer goats, beef replacement heifers, Jersey cattle, and other livestock – not to mention schoolchildren – kicked off the Merced County Fair on Wednesday.
The five days of the fair bring agriculture programs, live music, loads of food, carnival rides and other spectacles to town each June. It continues through Sunday at the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
The livestock competitions were underway early Wednesday. Jeff Moore, 45, of Dos Palos helped to wrangle a goat and set it up on a rack for his son, Gavin. The 9-year-old is in his first year of competition.
Moore said he and his wife, Teresa, have been around agriculture all their lives. Now, their four children are getting involved.
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The family has enough land in Dos Palos to support their Boer goat herd of 60. “We’ve been doing this since 2007,” Moore said while tying the goat, Lucy, to the rack. “We raise them for fairs and goat processing.”
It’s just fun competing.
Gavin Moore, 9, of Dos Palos
Gavin picked up a brush and began running it across the animal’s back. Fresh off a first-place finish in junior showmanship, Gavin smiled when asked about the goats. “It’s just fun competing,” he said.
The fair isn’t all animals and hay.
Kim Sanders of Clovis served up some Hawaiian shaved ice for a customer at the A Taste of Paradise booth. She said she takes the refreshments to fairs and events around the Central Valley.
The sugary treat may be a big seller as the high temperatures are forecast to hover around 90 degrees through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
For those who enjoy animals in a different way, the All American Bar-B-Que grill from Madera is ready to please, according to grill master Anthony Rita. He was seasoning ribs in preparation for hungry crowds.
The Long Run, an Eagles tribute band, is scheduled to play Thursday night. Funk band Tower of Power, country singers Lonestar and Latin group Banda Machos round out the live music.
His food truck, too, travels to fairs around the state. They smoke pork loin, chicken, tri-tip and other meats, but also offer pilaf and corn on the cob.
“We love it out here,” he said. “We try to do a little bit of everything.”
The fair has been known to attract 70,000 visitors or more.
Christian singer Jimmy Needham was set to take the stage on opening night. The Long Run, an Eagles tribute band, was scheduled to play Thursday night. Funk band Tower of Power, country singers Lonestar and Latin group Banda Machos round out the live music.
Other entertainment, games and rides are scheduled throughout the fair’s run. It opens at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. on the weekend. Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for children 6-12 and free for those younger.
For more, go to www.mercedcountyfair.com.