Very few people alive today can remember a time when the Stanislaus County Fair wasn’t around. The 10-day summer festival began humbly in 1911 as the Melon Carnival, but expanded throughout the decades in length and notoriety, with California recognizing its Arch Gate as a State Point of Historical Interest in 1999.
The fair’s headlining acts complement entertainment on secondary stages, whose performances range from community square dancing shows to canine daredevil acts. Meanwhile in the carnival area, visitors shoot down sudden rollercoaster drops and spin in dizzying circles, as tots frolic on size-appropriate kiddie rides and plot ways to turn their classrooms into zero-gravity chambers. Broncos attempt to buck riders to the ground in the rodeo, whereas those who prefer mechanical steeds can check out monster-truck shows, motocross contests, and motorcycle daredevils.