For a really good time this week, the 19th annual Santa Barbara Fair & Expo at the Earl Warren Showgrounds will be the place to be.

With a ’60s theme, complete with bell-bottomed jeans, tie-dyed shirts and “Peace, Love and Unity!” there promises to be plenty of action-oriented fun. You’ve got the carnival rides, a total of more than 30. You’ve got food, livestock, music and art.

The Santa Barbara Fair & Expo, which kicked off on Wednesday, features all-new rides, attractions and concessions in 2008!

The Fair & Expo is under contract with Butler Amusements, the West’s largest carnival company. Come and experience the fun and excitement of the Midway — there are plenty of thrills, chills and laughs for everyone in the family!

The rides for this year include several new ones. The Giant Pole Position Spinning Coaster is the newest, most exciting addition to the Fair & Expo. The coaster is 55 feet high and features five spinning cars and special sound effects. Four adults are seated per coaster car and the car spins while executing the coaster track. It feels like a Tilt-A-Whirl combined with a roller coaster for an exhilarating ride. Also included is the Fireball, which lifts 24 riders into the air and gives them a feeling of weightlessness; the Spin Out; Flying Bobs; and the Giant Wheel, an all-time favorite. Don’t worry, there’s the “kiddie” rides, too.

In addition to the great rides, there are games galore — each designed to be entertaining and challenging.

And, of course, you can count on great food, including cotton candy, corn dogs, popcorn, funnel cakes, churros, caramel apples, kettle corn, hamburgers, fries, tacos, Mexican food, Thai food, sausages, pizza, tri-tip and ribs, corn on the cob, cinnamon rolls, ice cream, milkshakes, soft drinks, beer and other beverages.

Grab your friends and head over to California Dreamin’ exhibit to check out the expo showcase of local foods, wine and beer, arts and crafts, horticulture and fine arts displays.
Taste free samples of the featured desserts, appetizers and other scrumptious foods in the Fair & Expo Cooking Contest, offered daily in the California Dreamin Exhibit Hall: Today: Brownies, 7 p.m.
Friday, April 25: Cheesecake (plain and flavored varieties), 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 26: Macaroni and Cheese, 1:30 p.m.; Ultimate Chocolate Desserts, 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 27: Homemade Salsa (traditional and tropical), 1:30 p.m.; Apple Pie, 3 p.m.

In addition to the delicious grub, you can check out the cattle, goats, sheep and poultry as they compete for blue ribbons. You will also see exotic animals, a full Kid’s Carnival and Petting Zoo.

Before you bug out, grab the kids and head over to the Flower Power Exhibit Hall. Here, the family can hang and check out the interactive displays. You will also be able to see artwork, photography, pottery and some other great projects that are being worked on in our community by kids. If you would like to have your kids show their artwork or something they have done with their class or on their own at the Flower Power Exhibit Hall.

Admission to the Fair & Expo is children 5 and under, free; $3 for children 6-12; $4 for seniors (60 and older); and $6 for adults.

The fair’s hours are: today, 4 – 10 p.m.; Friday, 4 –midnight; Saturday 11 a.m. – midnight; and Sunday 11 a.m. – midnight.

So what are you waiting for?