The California State Fair kicks off with new exhibits that highlight what's unique to the Golden State. Plus: new rides, new cuisine - and a whole lot of fun.
Here's The Sacramento Bee's guide to going and getting the best bang for your bucks for the 17-day fun: July 12-28 at Cal Expo.
General admission, $12; ages 62 and over, $10; ages 5-12, $8; and children 4 and under are admitted free
Unlimited ride wristband, $30 Monday-Friday and $35 Saturday-Sunday. Does not include fair admission. Wristbands are only redeemable until 10 p.m. and can be used to ride until 11 p.m.
State Fair/Raging Waters season pass (only available at ticket booths)
To buy tickets and for further information: go to www.bigfun.org
Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (last admission 10 p.m.)
Friday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-midnight (last admission 10 p.m.)
Monday-Thursday: noon-11 p.m.
Friday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-midnight
Monday-Thursday:11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-midnight
Kids Days (every Tuesday): Kids 12 and under get free admission, and all rides are only $1 for all ages. Tickets not available online.
62 & Better! Days (every Friday): Adults 62 and over get $8 admission before 8 p.m. Tickets not available online.
First Responders Day (July 17): Free admission all day for military (active, reserve or veteran) and first responders with ID. Good in or out of uniform. Does not include family members, dependents or guests.
Dirt to Dish: "Bring the Farm Home" cooking demonstrations that highlight why farm-to-table is attracting both professional chefs and at-home cooks - at The Farm. Visit www.bigfun.org for dates and times.
Hall of Heroes: Head to Exhibit Hall B to experience your favorite superheroes and discover your own inner superhero at this new exhibit. Costumed characters will greet you. Hey, get your picture taken in the Batmobile!
Don't look down! The Magical Midway expands this year to include plenty of thrilling rides including the all-new Vertigo, which spins riders over 100 feet above the ground.
Jewels of the Jungle offers a family-friendly experience. This exhibit is an exciting way to experience the natural beauty of the Amazon Jungle. Immerse yourself in the lush environment of the Floriculture exhibit and take in picturesque waterfalls. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Sunday.
6:45 p.m. July 27 at the Miller Lite Grandstand. Tickets $30-$85 in advance, $40-$95 at the door (if available).
Corn Dog Eating Contest
Break out the mustard and ketchup and get set for the annual corn dog eating contest. Prelims are set for July 19, finals on the 20th, both at 6 p.m. on the Promenade Stage. First place is $2,500, which would buy a lot of corn dogs.
This year's special feature is a live working bee hive. At The Farm.
The fireworks shows this season will be at 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through the run of the fair.
California State Karaoke Championships
Grab a mike and sing! The semifinal rounds start at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 15 with the finals set for 7 that evening on the Promenade Stage. Go to www.bigfun.org for details.
Special events at the Miller Lite Grandstand
Dachshund Derby: 1 p.m. Sunday, July 14
Brewers' Festival: 3 p.m. July 20
If you're into beer, come taste the best brews in the state. A ticket gets you ten 5-ounce samples of award-winning brews from the State Fair's Craft Brew Competition and a souvenir mug to take home. Designated Driver tickets available for $5 at the door. Tickets to the Brewers' Festival do not include State Fair admission. Cost: $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.
State Fair Thoroughbred Racing Season
Live racing July 12-14 and Wednesday July through July 21. The first race is at 1:45 p.m. daily (3:45 p.m. Fridays); free with fair admission.
See a show at the Golden1 Stage
General viewing of all concerts during the fair is free with fair admission. All concerts are held at the Golden1 Stage at 8 p.m.
Wristband seating: On the day of the concert, free reserved wristband seating is available while supplies last. These seats are located behind the Gold Circle reserved seating area. Concertgoers should line up at 4 p.m. at the stage to receive a wristband, which will be handed out at 4:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Each wristband permits one person. Guests can then claim their seats or return before showtime for a guaranteed seat.
For close-up viewing, Gold Circle seating is available for purchase.
Some of the performers scheduled include the Four Tops (Monday), EnVogue (July 22),LeAnn Rimes (July 23), Kool & the Gang (July 25) and Randy Houser (July 28)
Expo Center Exhibits
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Building 1: Youth Art & Design
2: Save Mart Supermarkets California Foodstyle
3: Celebrate California
4: Industrial & Technology Education
5: 5th Dimension
6: Fur & Feathers
7: Fine Arts
8: Creative Arts
GET SOCIAL WITH THE FAIR
Facebook: California State Fair
Twitter: @StateFairCA (#StateFairCA)