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Fair numbers drop

WATSONVILLE  Numbers are starting to fall into place following the Santa Cruz County Fair that wrapped up its five-day stint Sunday. 

While grueling hot weather scorched the grounds the first few days, temperatures backed off into the weekend and by Sunday pleasant conditions made way for huge crowds.

With highlights like the All Alaskan Racing Pigs, Brad’s World Reptiles, carnival rides, circus performances, Twinkle Time, the West Texas Rattlesnake Show, Rodgers House tours, the Wild West Turkey Stampede, live music (including the famed White Album Ensemble), bonsai trees, brilliant flowers and much more, the fair filled its goals of proving something for the entire family.

Fair manager Dave Kegebein said he was pleased with the overall picture.

“Things went very smoothly,” he said. “The weather was quite hot and pretty darned miserable into Friday but we survived. Attendance was down around 12 percent.”

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People get to pet an American alligator inside Brad’s World Reptiles tent. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Kegebein said a heavier police presence might have also kept some people away. Such events have gassed up their police numbers since a recent spate of mass shootings around the country and, in particular, at the nearby Gilroy Garlic Festival, where a man opened fire with an assault-style rifle and killed three people, injured 17 and killed himself.

“Once the hot weather settles in, like on Thursday and Friday, it’s hard to make up for that in the evening for what you lose in the day,” Kegebein said. “But we can’t complain; the people came out and supported us.”

The fair in Santa Cruz County goes back around 110 years. It was held in various spots around the county before finding its current home. 

The popular Apple Annual served as a form of fair for years. 

Kegebein said the property the fairgrounds stand on now was purchased in 1935. The first building for the fair, a horse barn, dates to around 1949. 

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This oil can collection by Lindly Howes claimed a first place award in the general collection division. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

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