The very first California State Fair took place in San Francisco in 1854, with Mission Dolores showing off the cows on display. Some years later, after taking place in a different city each year, the fair relocated to Sacramento where it stayed permanently. It was held in Sacramento in 1855, San Jose in 1856, Stockton in 1857, and Marysville in 1858. Sacramento would become its permanent home the following year.
The yearly event, however, which now takes place at Sacramento’s Cal Expo (California Exposition) Fairgrounds, still pays tribute to California’s diverse agricultural bounty, as well as offering a wealth of sports, entertainment, delicious food, and rides.
The classic fair has no shortage of crafts, rabbits, and blue-ribbon sheep on display. It further showcases an impressive range of Californian treats, such as wine and beer tastings, cooking demonstrations, and culinary contests like the professionals-only California Commercial Craft Beer contest and the California Homebrew Competition.
Recent winners include Mraz Brewing Company from E Dorado Hills, Yolo Brewing Co. from West Sacramento, and Loma Brewery from Los Gatos. There are also a number of contests for California wines, cheeses, and olive oils.
You can also watch (or even take part in ) contests based around events such as corn dog- or old-school pie- eating. Other events include a classic car show, a llama and alpaca dress-up pageant, and wiener dog races, as well as an exhibition designed to show off Californian photographers.
Live music schedule
Live music fans will want to take a look at which artists are scheduled to play. Past line-ups have included a number of diverse and well-known acts including Los Lonely Boys, Sheila E, ZZ Top, and Good Charlotte. The cost of the concerts is included in the fair admission price.
There’s often also a chance for a photo and a meet-and-greet with the artists, It isn’t just about headline acts, however. Other events give the lesser-known acts a time to shine, like the gospel choir performances and the statewide youth mariachi contest.
The Cal Expo fairgrounds also welcome horse racing to fair season. There’s also professional rugby, a corn hole championship, and motocross. Meanwhile, the fireworks jazz up Friday and Saturday nights.
From vegan-friendly to cotton candy
If you’re a fan of outlandish fare food, take a look at the schedule for $2 Taste of the Food days when you can treat yourself to $2 samples of the delights on offer. If cotton candy and corndogs aren’t your thing, however, don’t worry- there’s also a variety of healthy and delicious items, vegan- and vegetarian- friendly.
Aside from the State Fair, Cal Expo hosts hundreds of other major events annually. With 350 remarkable landscaped acres, Cal Expo was opened by none other than Governor Ronald Reagan after been initiated by Governor Pat Brown.
The present facilities at Cal Expo were designated as somewhere to pay tribute to the state’s agriculture, achievements, diversity of its residents, and trends and traditions that will shape the future of California.