State

Stanislaus fair board likely to change dates

TURLOCK — The apple pies, dairy cows and corn dogs probably will come to town a little earlier next year. The Stanislaus County Fair board of directors on Monday will consider moving up the 2010 fair.

New dates are likely after the California State Fair board decided to move its schedule ahead because its tradition of ending on Labor Day conflicted with many school calendars.

"This institution has a long history of being a destination for families," California State Fair CEO and General Manager Norbert J. Bartosik said in a news release issued last week. "Over the last six to seven years, we have seen a continual decrease in our weekday attendance and the amount of repeat family visitors because of the school schedule. Fair fans that used to come two and three times during a single fair season are now able to come only once."

The 2010 state fair is tentatively scheduled for July 14 though Aug. 1. Stanislaus County's 10-day fair traditionally begins on the last Friday in July.

Stanislaus County and the state fair use the same carnival vendor, Butler Amusements. Also, many vendors and exhibitors participate in both fairs, said fair spokeswoman Pennie Rorex.

Staff members researched the possibilities of moving the county fair's opening day to July 9 or 16. The board will consider those dates Monday. Members also could select another schedule. It's not likely they will move the fair later in the year because of the same concerns with school schedules.

Rorex said the fair doesn't want to conflict with the school year for a couple of reasons: Many high school students who raise animals spend most of their time in the barns during the fair, and many school employees work at the fair during summer.

Anticipating the state's move, the Merced County Fair board earlier this year changed its dates. The five-day fair in Merced, which also contracts with Butler Amusements, typically took place the week before Stanislaus' fair started. The 2010 fair will be June 15-20.

The San Joaquin County Fair typically takes place in the final week of June.

The Stanislaus County Fair board of directors will meet at 5 p.m. Monday in the administration office boardroom, 900 N. Broadway, Turlock.

Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or 578-2343.

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