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.
Just in time for holidays and tax-form burnings, fresh flowers emerge from potted arrangements, such as the Spring Sonata ($39.95) and the Cotton Candy ($34.95), alongside bunches of pink tulips ($34.95). Click here to shop by occasion, price, color, and flower type.
Bunkers, barriers, and trailers speckle The Paintball Zone’s five themed playing fields, serving as venues for sneaking or sniping. On Saturdays or the last Sunday of each month, players disperse throughout the arenas, marking opponents with random paint splatters or impressionist haystacks. The outdoor facility includes a covered staging area for protection against the sun and rain. The Paintball Zone sells paint and rents markers, ammo, gear, and compressed air tanks and recommends players wear a long-sleeve shirt and shoes that provide good ankle support.
At Yogolicious, guests take dessert cravings into their own hands. They swirl frozen yogurt or Italian-style gelato into cups, selecting exactly the right amount before adorning the twisted peaks with combinations of more than 50 toppings. Fresh fruit, cereals, nuts, and syrups sit atop frozen treats, with dollops of whipped cream to crown the entire dessert.
The Floral Cottage arms caring friends with an arsenal of poignant bouquets ready to add color and fragrance to any life moment. Prep a mantelpiece for the coming cold with the stellar yellow arrangement ($45–$65), part of the winter assortment of bouquets, or symbolically remind the Christmas tree of its impending doom with an early unveiling of spring flowers ($40+). The custom-design ($55–$75) webpage tasks each customer with organic organization, showering flower fiends in options for special occasions such as graduating from graphology school or successfully forging one’s graphology school diploma.
Despite what its modest name suggests, Simply Hair Salon & Beauty Supply does a lot more than hair. Sure, their stylists can sculpt a beautiful and personalized haircut, straighten curls with keratin, or add some extra dimension with highlights. But the team also boasts aestheticians who revitalize skin with facials, sculpt eyebrows, and turn nails into tiny pieces of art during mani-pedis. Simply Hair's roster of most valuable players also includes a particular inanimate object: candles. When placed in the ear and lit—a process appropriately known as ear candling—they can potentially treat ear problems and annoying issues, such as allergies or a weird voice that only seems to speak during the finale of TV shows. On special occasions, the salon opens its doors to host stylish events. In the past, this has included showcasing the fashionable jeans of Lavender Blues and Vault Denim.