Porterville has set itself apart with one of the largest community-supported fairs in the nation. That will continue Wednesday when the 70th Porterville Fair opens its doors.
The fair will run through Sunday and by the time the gates close, hundreds of local 4-H and FFA members will have exhibited their projects from art and baking to huge steers; thousands of pounds of food will have been consumed, thousands will have ridden one of the many rides in the carnival and tens of thousands of smiles will have been created.
The Porterville Fair is tradition and while some say the fair is not the same since it moved out of downtown, they might be right — it has been improved by leaps and bounds and today offers more than ever.
Activity will begin early Wednesday in the livestock barn where hundreds of animals will be judged by professionals. The gates to the fair, including the carnival and indoor exhibits, open at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Food is available all day and again this year the fair is offering lunch-only passes so people can go out and have lunch. Gates open at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
Besides livestock, hundreds of 4-H and FFA members are displaying their talents. There is competition in clothing, baked goods, horticulture, welding and even rocketry. And, let’s not forget the exhibitors of the smaller animals such as chickens and rabbits.
It was 70 yeas ago that a group of civic-minded individuals who wanted to give young children an opportunity to raise and show animals began kicking around the idea of a community fair. It was unlike other fairs, such as county fairs, which are supported by tax dollars. Our local fair is supported by you, the community, and only you. Its existence depends on the support the fair is given.
Hundreds of volunteers over the years have devoted countless hours of their time to ensure the fair continues. It is a monumental task to organize and put on the fair and those volunteers are to be commended for their dedication to the community. There are also scores of volunteers who man booths and assist in the livestock barns.
Like every fair, there are special acts brought in to attract people. This year, one of those is a concert Saturday night by country singer Wade Hayes. It’s been a while since the fair has brought in a performer of his caliber. And what makes it even better is the concert is free with paid admission to the fair. We are certain that is going to be a very popular attraction.
There will also be continuous entertainment on the grounds, including local dance, baton and cheer groups, some of which have performed at nearly every fair. There will be several food booths and the Kids Zone for youngsters.
A lot of work goes into putting on the fair each year and that hard work is for the community and the young people who take part. Enjoy the 2018 version of the Porterville Fair.