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Area residents should prepare to be knee-deep in sheep at 2008 fair

Rock the flock.

Janae Elmasian of Atwater won the 2008 Merced County Fair's slogan contest with "Come Rock with the Flock." The theme of next July's fair is sheep, one of the county's top agricultural products.

Elmasian didn't know much about sheep before entering the theme contest for the first time.

"I thought this would be the easiest $100 I ever made," she said. After reading a newspaper article about the contest and checking out the fair's Web site, she did a little online research about sheep and lambs.

"I know sheep provide wool for clothing and so forth, but the closest I get to sheep is shopping for clothes," she said.

Elmasian, 27, will receive $100 for her winning slogan and a pair of season passes to the fair, held July 15-20, 2008. She works as a building supervisor, grew up in Atwater and is a graduate of Landmark Christian School in Atwater.

"Trying to make sense out of something that's five words or less and rhyme at the same time is tough," Elmasian said. So she decided to play around with the word flock. "I decided rock and flock had a good rhyme. When I think of rock, I think 'let's rock,' like let's have fun."

Taking second place in the slogan contest was Marisa Brooks, 19, of Merced who submitted "Jam with the Lambs." Niko Alberti-Williams, 13, of Merced, took third place honors for his slogan, "Wild and Wooly." It was the first time he entered the competition, but he did participate in the 2006 logo design contest.

Second and third place winners will each receive a pair of season passes to the fair.

Now that the 2008 fair has a slogan, the next step is to launch the search for a winning graphic. The fair is sponsoring a contest to come up with a logo that best illustrates the slogan. The deadline to submit entries is

at 5 p.m. on Oct. 31.

The top graphic designer wins $500, a pair of season passes to the fair, and the fun of seeing their winning design used to promote the fair on everything from billboards to T-shirts. The competition is open to Merced County residents only.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or