Wendy Alexander/Madera Tribune file photo
Ranjit Chahal, of Madera High Robotics, uses a virtual reality headset to play a longbow game at the fair.
It’s that time of year again! As fall approaches, the Madera District Fair at 1850 Cleveland Ave. brings its unique blend of hometown fun, big name entertainment and artistic displays from our talented neighbors.
Celebrating its 80th anniversary the fair has put together exhibits and memorabilia depicting its history and its vital connection to Madera.
Opening day today is jam-packed with some of the best amusements in the valley and the largest entertainment bargains. Seniors and kids ages 12 and younger get in for free! Gates open Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m. and close each night at 11 p.m. Gates open at 3 p.m. on the weekend.
Sunday is Rancho San Miguel Market day. Children 12 and younger get in free. Early bird carnival wristbands bought before 5 p.m. are two for the price of one.
See the world’s only traveling, self-contained Stingray exhibit. This demonstration provides an opportunity to see, touch, feel and learn all about live Stingrays. Safely view and touch these wonderful creatures for a hands-on educational experience. A video and audio presentation runs continuously during operation hours and staff members are on duty at all times to answer questions about this fascinating sea life.
At The Throw Zone, meet juggler Jeremiah Johnson. Johnson holds two award medals from the World Championships of Juggling. Johnson first learned to juggle at 12. Entering college at Humboldt State University in 2005, he discovered the Humboldt Circus Club, which introduced him to the stage, fire dancing, and to his first juggling partners. Johnson, along with his brother Jesse, became half of a four person juggling sensation, The Poetic Motion Machine, which would win a bronze medal at the 2009 International Jugglers’ Association’s annual competition. Shifting his focus to dance and movement studies, Jeremiah finally graduated from Humboldt State in 2011. He earned a second bronze as part of juggling quartet Mountain Motion in 2013, and started the solo act The Throw Zone in 2014.
Pay a visit to the Exhibit Hall. Since 1937, the walls of the Exhibit Hall have displayed the county’s finest handiwork that includes art, photography, baked goods, preserves, textiles, quilting, crafting and much more. Admire the talents of those who keep the exhibiting tradition alive. Check fair scheduling for live demonstrations and judging of specialty food contests to include homegrown pies, BBQ ribs, cupcake Wars and Salsa contests. Blue ribbons, the winner’s circle, cash and the all-important bragging rights will be awarded.
What is a fair without a carnival? Not much fun. Again this year the Midway of Fun brings 25 thrilling rides and rows after row of games to the fair. Ride the classic Ferris wheel and Carousel, drop an electric 80 feet or take the little ones on the kiddie rides.
Brad’s World Reptiles owned by Brad Tylman is bringing his amazing live reptiles, amphibians and other exotic species to the fair. He has traveled the globe accumulating vast knowledge about the natural world and shares it with his audience surrounded by some of the most beautiful and exotic animals on the planet.
Commercial vendors scheduled in Hatfield Hall for this year’s fair include: Madera Democrats, Madera Flea Market, Star Wireless, Madera Tribune, Sam’s Club, The Pampered Chef, Madera County District Attorney, Madera County Republican Committee, Superior Sleep Experience, Lifetime Cookware, Madera Seventh Day Adventist Church, Madera College Center, Madera Irrigation District, First Southern Baptist Church, Smith Manor Grace Chapel, Chickie’s Tasty Treats, Moreno for District Attorney, Right to Life, Chavinda Honey Bee Farms, Unwired Broadband, Gurrlie Gurl, City Of Madera RDA, Water Conservation, Solid Waste, Realty Concepts, Madera County Mosquito Abatement, Madera Community Hospital Family Health, Noble Credit Union, Fresno Bee, Banda Kenpo Karate, Lipsense Quarter Midget Club, Official Pest Prevention, Madera Skate, Veterans of War and American Legion and the History of the Madera District Fair.