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Santa Barbara Fair and Expo Opens with ‘Back to the ‘50s’ Theme

28th annual family friendly event runs through Sunday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds

The 28th annual Santa Barbara Fair and Expo, which opened Wednesday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, features more than 30 carnival rides. Click to view larger
The 28th annual Santa Barbara Fair and Expo, which opened Wednesday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, features more than 30 carnival rides. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

The sights, sounds and smells of a fun-filled carnival are inb display in Santa Barbara this week.

The 28th annual Santa Barbara Fair and Expo opened Wednesday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds and will continue through Sunday.

The showgrounds, at 3400 Calle Real, has been transformed into a family friendly, “Back to the 50’s” themed fair.

The 5-day event is expected to attract between as many as 48,000 visitors. 

The fun includes more than 30 carnival rides that twist, twirl and whip, and a nearly 100-foot Ferris wheel.

Visitors can see goats, chickens, alpacas, bunnies and other farm animals on display in the livestock area.

Pony rides will be offered for children, and there will be an animal petting zoo.

The exhibit building has been transformed into “Pleasantville,” and showcases artwork, photography, pottery and other projects entered by the kids in the community.

Warren Hall houses local foods, wine and beer, arts and crafts, horticulture and highlights fine arts displays.

Youth and adults can sign up for the daily cooking competition by preparing their recipes for meat loaf, carrot cake, tuna noodle casserole, fruit pie, macaroni and cheese, and flour chocolate cake with white icing.

The fair features the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs competing over both high hurdles and flat tracks.

Youngsters enjoy one of the many carnival rides at the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo. Click to view larger
Youngsters enjoy one of the many carnival rides at the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Weekend entertainment includes performances by old-time rock and roll bands, Santa Barbara-based rock band Ernie and the Emperors, magician Frank Thurston and hypnotist James Kellogg Jr.

This year’s theme is also a celebration of the property’s inception. 

The fair site at the corner of Las Positas Road and Calle Real was selected for the showgrounds in 1950.

“We decided to celebrate the fact that we go back to the 1950s,” showgrounds CEO Scott Grieve said. “We try to find a theme that we can decorate and have some fun with.”

Entry to the fair is $8 for adults, $5 for kids and seniors, and free for children 5 and under.

Guests can purchase $28 wristbands, good for unlimited carnival rides that day.

“You can ride all day long,” Grieve said.

The fair and expo is open from 4 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The carnival closes these nights at midnight and 10 p.m.

View a complete schedule of activities and times by clicking here

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

A young girl is entertained by two “Robocars” Transformers at the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo. Click to view larger
A young girl is entertained by two “Robocars” Transformers at the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

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