The 21st annual Santa Barbara Fair & Expo will offer locals a wide range of carnival rides, food and live performances this weekend at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.
The fair, titled “Sweet Home Santa Barbara,” features attractions from the West’s largest carnival company, as well as exhibitor displays, livestock competitions and a petting zoo. Although the event opened Wednesday, organizers predict the weekend will draw the largest crowds this weekend, with over 45,000 expected attendees.
[media-credit id=20113 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit][media-credit id=20113 align=”alignleft” width=”174″][/media-credit]The CEO of Earl Warren Showgrounds, Scott Grieve, said the carnival has both traditional and new, unique attractions.
“We have all the traditional fair foods and we have 32 carnival rides,” Grieve said. “But we also have one ride that we bought from Michael Jackson when he closed his ranch, and a huge Ferris wheel that has just had $100,000 upgrade to LED lights, which can provide a pretty spectacular show.”
According to Grieve, the event will provide the community with more than just entertainment.
“One aspect of it is that the showgrounds are self-supported, meaning that we’re a state facility but we make our own budget,” Grieve said. “Essentially it’s one of the events that keep the Earl Warren Showgrounds going, so we can in the future use it as shelter during fires and training facility for firemen, among other things. This way, taxpayers don’t have to pay for the operation of the facility.”
In addition to food and rides, there are exhibits featuring artwork, needlepoint, recipes and market animals in addition to contests for skills such as knitting and cooking. Pat Cary, the deputy manager of Earl Warren Showgrounds, expects this well-rounded event to draw a wide range of visitors.
“It’s an inexpensive, fun time for families and we have a lot of educational experiences for children,” Cary said. “But we will also be featuring a lot of entertainment from the community, such as a hypnotist, and a large amount of local bands and dance groups.”
One of the fair’s patrons, Christine Reynolds, a commercial diving student at SBCC, said she had a great experience.
“Overall, it was a lot of fun. The rides were exciting, and it wasn’t too crowded,” Reynolds said. “And the food was amazing. We couldn’t stop eating.”
Admission to the fair is $6 for adults, $3 for children and free for children five years old and under. For more information, visit sbfairandexpo.com.