Merced County Spring Fair builds on Los Banos reputation

Fairgoers enjoy the first day of the Merced County Spring Fair Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at the Los Banos Fairgrounds.
Fairgoers enjoy the first day of the Merced County Spring Fair Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at the Los Banos Fairgrounds.

The Merced County Spring Fair in Los Banos never gets dull for the Douglas family.

Julie Douglas’ 16-year-old daughter has been showing goats at the Spring Fair in Los Banos for seven years. And each time, the drive from Winton has been worth it.

“It’s very family-oriented,” Douglas said of the fair. “The community here is really great and supportive of kids.”

The fair officially started Wednesday morning with a flag raising by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2487 and American Legion Post 166.

A presentation followed with a speech by this year’s grand marshal of the parade, Antone Giannone. Giannone, a Los Banos farmer who has helped with fundraisers throughout the years, welcomed a crowd of adults and a number of school children at the gate of the fairgrounds.

Also giving its welcome was the 2017 Miss May Day Court, which includes Miss May Day 2017 Julianna O’Banion-Borboa, first runner-up Celeste Lopes and second runner-up Randi Souto.

Later Wednesday, several performances were followed by the “Tiny Princess Contest,” a performance by the Second Wind Band, hay squeeze and special cheesecake contests, and various acts including hypnotist Chris Mabrey.

Douglas’ daughter, Abigail Douglas, competed with the Buhach Colony FFA.

“I do it every year and it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I make new friends and I look forward to the competition.

Gustine’s Anthony Silva said he has been coming to the fair since he was a kid. Now he has his own 16-year-old son, Hunter Silva, who shows animals.

Hunter said he enjoys the tractor pull event and hanging out with friends.

“The way it’s run here, it’s clean and a safe environment,” Silva said, adding that the Los Banos venue was his favorite fair of the year.

Thursday’s schedule includes with FFA and 4-H contests, baking and cookie contests, a replacement heifer sale and a concert featuring country singer Carly Pearce.

On Friday, kids ages 12 and under are admitted free until 5 p.m. The day starts with a rabbit show and avian science show at 8 a.m. Also, a destruction derby will start at 7 p.m., with several performances by the Los Banos Youth Choir, Queen Esters Ballet and Performing Arts, and the “Unauthorized Rolling Stones.”

The fair will continue throughout the weekend with events as well, starting with the May Day Parade at 9 a.m. Saturday, which begins in downtown Los Banos and travels to the main gate of the fairgrounds.

Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562