Cal Expo is dishing up scads of new offering for its 2017 State Fair run – including a high-tech scavenger hunt designed to help fair-goers broaden their horizons and visit parts of the fair they might otherwise pass over.
Some highlights include a Tribute to Hollywood Horses, including the equine stars of “The Walking Dead” TV show, which will be performed from 7-9 p.m. daily at the horse arena; National Weiner Dog Races on Saturday at the racetrack; and Expedition: Dinosaur, in which 16 life-size animatronic dinosaurs will take up residence in two rooms of the Exposition Pavilion.
Steampunk at the Races, to be held at 2 p.m. July 28, features a steampunk costume contest judged by Ave Rose, winner of the first season of “Steampunk’d.”
A special exhibit honoring the contributions of farmworkers, without whom the state’s rich agricultural heritage would not have been possible, will be dedicated at 5 p.m. Sunday at a ceremony attended by the United Farm Workers Union, the Cesar Chavez Foundation and family and state and local dignitaries.
For those who attend for the food, new fair foods include deep fried nachos (presumably because deep fried everything else has already been done at the fair) a meatball pizza by Cadinali’s and bacon-wrapped Brussel sprouts courtesy of Bacon Habit. Dole Whip, as served at Disneyland, will make its Cal Expo deput as well.
For purists, classic fair fare, such as funnel cakes, corn dogs, lemonade and the aforementioned deep fried everything will also be available.
Fairgoers can learn more about the process of creating beer, wine and spirits from agricultural products at Farm to Glass, an exhibit next to the Wine Garden. Educational opportunities are available through Olive Oil Experience and Wine Experience classes.
And because any part of the fair a fair-goer hasn’t seen will be new to them, Cal Expo included a self-guided scavenger hunt on its new app (available for Apple and Android platforms). The hunt leads to ‘nine iconic CA State Fair locations,’ Fair-goers who can show pictures of all nine sites at the info booth win a goodie bag, said Margaret Mohr, Cal Expo deputy general manager.
But the real goodies are the fair's hidden gems that visitors might overlook because they go to the same 3-4 parts of the fairgrounds they always go to, she said.