The attraction of the Monterey County Fair is fairly obvious: where else can you go on scream-inducing rides, play games of chance and skill, view a wide variety of livestock, eat foods you wouldn’t normally eat, catch a free concert, watch pigs racing around a track, take in a rodeo, see floriculture, visual arts and more from your neighbors in the community, all in one location?
And this year’s 83rd Annual Monterey County Fair is sure not to disappoint. Set for Thursday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, this year’s theme is “High Tides and Carnival Rides.” The fair is held at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center at 2004 Fairground Road in Monterey.
There are thousands of reasons to attend this year’s fair and everyone has their own favorite reasons, but here are five of the best reasons to attend the 2019 Monterey County Fair:
This year, Aug. 29, the opening day of the fair, has been designated National Monterey County Fair Day, as certified by the National Day Archives. The best part of that and to celebrate the new designation, the Monterey County Fair will offer $1 carnival rides all day on Thursday, Aug. 29. That’s $1 for all rides for all day!
Carnival wristbands are regularly $35 ($25 in advance), so that’s quite a savings. And you can use what you saved to play more games or buy that cool T-shirt you’ve been eyeing all night. This is a one-day deal, so you may as well take advantage of it!'
If you’re a country music fan, this year’s fair is right up your back-country road. The big name appearing this year is rising country music star Mitchell Tenpenny, whose 2018 hit “Drunk Me” hit #2 on the U.S. country charts, performing on opening night, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 29.
Also performing on the Main Stage will be a Carrie Underwood Tribute and Garth Guy, a tribute to Garth Brooks on Saturday, Aug. 31. For those who are more inclined to classic rock, Journey Revisited, a tribute to the great Bay Area band Journey, will perform on Friday, Aug. 30.
The great thing about these concerts are they are all free with admission to the fair. That’s quite the bargain in this day and age of $100-plus concert tickets!
Unless you’re a farmer or knows someone who owns a farm, you’re not going to encounter a whole lot of livestock in your day-to-day life. But the fair is the ideal location to get up close and personal with a wide variety of cows, pigs, goats, rabbits, poultry and sheep. Not only that, you can talk to the young farmers who have raised these animals and get firsthand accounts of their experiences on the farm. And if you’ve never attended a livestock auction, the fair’s Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday, Aug. 31, is exciting and educational, giving you a front-row seat to something not a lot of folks get to witness. These livestock exhibits and auctions reach deep back into the history of our country and the origins of county fairs across the country.
The food. Once a year you can indulge your wildest food cravings and try foods you wouldn’t normally eat during the rest of the year. The fair’s food offerings range from the simple — popcorn and corn dogs — to the exotic: bacon-wrapped sausages, savory ethnic foods with hard-to-pronounce names and even deep-fried Twinkies! It’s the one time of the year to throw caution to the wind and give that Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger a whirl!
In addition to the carnival rides, games of chance, a wide variety of vendors offering everything from fashions to costume jewelry, the free concerts, food vendors, livestock and arts and crafts exhibits, there’s a constant whirl of free entertainment all throughout the fair, including magicians, hypnotists, jugglers, clowns, stilt walkers, musicians, wood carvers and even racing pigs. It’s all part of the wall-to-wall entertainment package you get when you step through the gates.
For more information on all that the 2019 Monterey County Fair has to offer, go to its website at www.montereycountyfair.com.