California State Fair 2017
June 26, 2017

California State Fair

It’s that time of year again! The California State Fair is coming to Sacramento July 14-30, 2017. As always, the California State Fair is located at Cal Expo in the Arden-Arcade area.

A Few Tips

Attending the California State Fair with your family may seem daunting at first. However, here are a few tips which will help your family maximize your experience. First of all, don’t go when the sun is blazing hot at lunch time. You’ll roast! Go in the later afternoon or early evening when it is a bit cooler. Bring empty water bottles that you can refill because it will be hot and you will need to stay hydrated. Also, bring sunglasses, sunblock, and extra sun protection for the whole family.

Photography Credit: Dr. Jacqueline Cheung of Jax Chronicles

California State Fair – Food & Drink

If you’re feeling hot, hungry, or thirsty when you get in, head over to the food vendors. If you have just come in the main entrance, the food vendors will be to the left. It’s good just to rest and eat while it’s still hot outside. You can move along to the buildings and exhibits when it’s not so blazing hot. Whether you’re feeling like a fried Elvis sandwich, or some tri tip, the food vendors really have almost everything you can imagine. My personal favorite includes the freshly grilled corn. I like to top it with butter, lemon juice, and salt. I’m also a big fan of the gigantic roasted turkey legs. They are delicious and big enough to share. If you’re over 21, you can also pick up a margarita or beer, hit the Craft Brew Pub, or the Save Mart Wine Garden.

Enjoying Funnel Cake
Photography Credit: Melinda Zhang

Exhibits & Things To Buy

After stuffing our faces, my family and I usually head over to buildings A, B, C, & D. In building A, you will find the California Counties Exhibits. Every year, they will pick one county’s exhibit as the winner. In buildings B, C, & D there are inventions, food samples, and many indoor vendors. I tend to like sampling the flavored dips with pretzels. Our family likes looking for useful inventions that we normally can’t buy ourselves. There are usually numerous demonstrations and deals on the latest gadgets. The cooking demonstrations are usually entertaining.

Counties of California Exhibit
Photography Credit: Megan Prater-Sanders

The Arts buildings are in the center of the fair. They are a series of cement buildings. Aside from Fur & Feathers, which houses live champion animals, each arts room houses a particular arts exhibit. In the California Crafts exhibit you can see knitting, handmade clothes, handmade jewelry, quilting, and even woodwork and furniture. In the California Fine Arts exhibit visitors can check out painting, visual arts, photography, and pottery.  Local students and adults from California enter their artwork into specific categories. Winners are awarded in every category.

California Crafts Exhibit
Photography Credit: LeeAnn Wong

If you are into shopping, there are vendors in buildings C & D, between the carnival and the fountains, and near the cement arts buildings. You can purchase anything from clothing, to customized jewelry, to body art.


The Kaiser Permanente Farm by Save Mart celebrates the food and agriculture of California. You can learn about the many different kinds of crops grown in California. If you like fishing, you can learn about farm fishing techniques. Culinary creations by California chefs will be there for you to sample. If you feel like grabbing some fresh produce, look no further than the California State Fair Farmer’s Market. It’s also well worth it to visit the Urban Farming exhibit. The Hydroponic Greenhouse utilizes state-of-the-art growing techniques. The California Forest center showcases over 40 different varieties of trees. While viewing them you can learn about the benefits of a sustainable forest. If you are into bugs, there is a full Insect Pavilion for you to view many different kinds of insects.

Urban Farming Exhibit
Photography Credit: David Smith

Unique Exhibits

The Blacksmith Experience will take you back to a time when life was simpler. You can sit back and watch as blacksmiths turn iron into works of art. The California Authors Exhibit is worth visiting if you’re a bookworm. You can meet some famous authors and learn more about what it takes to publish a book.

The Blacksmith Experience

Livestock & Animals

If you like to see livestock, or farming exhibits, you will see plenty at the California State Fair. The horse races and dog races are popular. Horseracing at the California State Fair Miller Lite Grandstand Track happens every Thursday-Sunday. At the Farmyard Follies you can interact with goats, sheep, llamas, and even a spotted donkey. These awesome animals from the Great American Petting Zoo are trained to interact well people.  For the adventurous, you can even learn to milk a cow. Check out Fur & Feathers in the Arts buildings. You can view champion rabbits, guinea pics, chinchillas, turkeys, ducks, chickens, and fowls.

Livestock Exhibit
Photography Credit: Marisol Clark

Fur & Feathers
Photography Credit: Melinda Zhang

Special Events

There are some special events to note. On July 18, there is a California State Fair Pie Eating Contest. The Best of California Brewfest, where you can sample quality brews from all over the state, is on July 22. On July 23, Sac Republic is playing the Seattle Sounders at Papa Murphy’s Park. You can buy tickets on Ticketmaster. California State Fair will hold the 2nd annual California State Fair Cornhole Championship on July 29. Grab a family member or a friend and try your luck.

California State Fair Cornhole Championships
Photography Credit: California State Fair

Music & Entertainment

You can’t go to the California State Fair without seeing a live performance. At the Golden 1 Stage, Brian McKnight, Good Charlotte, Smash Mouth, and Melissa Etheridge are all scheduled to perform. At the Promenade Stage by the arts buildings, the Chinese acrobats and the hypnotist show are very popular each summer. You will also be able to check out various shows of singing and dancing. For those who want to view something even more adventurous, Jack-In-The-Box Freestyle Motocross has shows every single day at 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm. These daredevils on motorcycles perform high-flying, jaw-dropping, aerial tricks for the masses.

Good Charlotte
California State Fair Toyota Concert Series

Carnival & Games

My family usually winds up our day at the California State Fair by going on the rides at the carnival and playing the games. My favorite ride is the Evolution, a thrilling and most noteworthy ride. It rotates in a circle while lifting you up into the air. You’re left danging upside-down over the fair. If you’re into funnel cake, you can always grab a plate while you watch your family and friends go on rides. On Fridays and Saturdays, the California State Fair has a fireworks display presented by Dish.

Carnival Rides at the California State Fair
Photography Credit: Melinda Zhang

No matter who you are going with, what you like to eat, or what you like to do, I can guaranteed that you will find something at the California State Fair to amuse you. To start planning your visit to the California State Fair, visit the website at You can purchase concert tickets and admission tickets here. The California State Fair is open 11am to 10pm Monday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday it is open 10am to 10pm. The carnival rides will close at 11pm each night so it makes sense to save the rides for last. I hope you all have a great time at the California State Fair! Don’t forget to hydrate and bring sunblock and sun protection. You can also visit our Places To Go category for more fun things to do in Sacramento area.

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About Dr. Jacqueline "Jax" Cheung

Dr. Jacqueline "Jax" Cheung is the owner of the award winning Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption ministry and the Editor-In-Chief of the Elk Grove Tribune. Jax likes freelancing for Sacramento4kids and was one of their first writers. She lives in Elk Grove with her husband and 2 daughters. To follow her journey please like her Jax Chronicles Facebook page, follow her Instagram @jaxchronicles, follow her Twitter @jaxchronicles, or check out Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption ministry.

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