In its 79th year, the Sonoma County Fair has grown to become one of the most popular in the state, famous for its top quality horse racing, stunning flower show, and constant innovations in family entertainment. 15 Days of family fun at the Sonoma County Fair comes our way July 24-August 9 (closed Mondays).
The Sonoma County Fair is loaded with activities for the young and old. Most are included in regular fair admission, some are extra. In this article we will highlight how to get the best deals for your family and all the FREE kids activities that are included in the price of admission.
There are many ways to save money at the Sonoma County Fair:
- Purchase pre-sale tickets or economy packs in advance (more information at the end of this article)
- Entering your stuff gets you FREE entry to the fair (baked goods, art, gardening, photography, livestock)
- Pre-Fair Contests can win you FREE tickets & carnival rides (math, coloring, drawing, sticker design, & more)
- Bring 2 food items on Food Bank Fridays for $2 off admission
- Take advantage of Too Good to be True Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays for all you can ride for $22
The following FREE activities are available for kids at the Sonoma County Fair:
- Sweet Lil's Farmery: Watch chicks emerge from their shells, try spinning yarn with a real spinning wheel, feed a goat kid with a bottle or try milking Sweet Lil, our amazing demonstration "cow."
- Great American Petting Zoo: Llamas, Fallow Deer, African Pygmy Goats, assorted exotic and domestic goats and sheep, Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs, Bantam Chickens, miniature Sicilian Donkeys, miniature Call Ducks, and baby animals born all year long.
- The Milk Barn: Watch cows being milked and learn about Sonoma County's famous dairy industry.
- Cattle Barns: Dairy Cows and Beef Cattle.
- Sheep & Goats: Did you know that both sheep and goats have 32 teeth, but neither have upper front teeth?Explore the sheep and goat barns every day to disover fun new facts.
- Fur & Feathers: More than just chickens and bunnies, this barn is home to more varieties than any other. Visit the Geese, Cavies (Guinea Pigs), Rabbits, Ducks, Turkeys, Chickens and all kinds of other birds.
- Swine Barns: Meander the Swine Barns and discover all the shapes and sizes of this year's competing pigs.
Farmers Day, Sunday July 26, 1-3pm (fun & educational barnyard events)
- Kiddie Fun on the Farm: Activities located at the base of the Chris Beck Arena Grandstands
- Opening Ceremonies: Introduction of the 2015 Wine Country Rodeo Queen
- Grand Entry: Our Rodeo Queen will lead a “stick horse” drill with youngsters 10 years old and under. Watch these kids master the art of riding a stick horse and not get bucked off! (At 12:00 noon, the first 25 kids that arrive at the Chris Beck Arena Box Office will receive a free stick-horse to ride in the grand entry).
- Team Penning Challenge: Top 5 teams compete in this bonus round! Winning team will take home an additional $300 in prize money. $300 bonus donated by Ag Credit.
- Wild Cow Milking: Cheer for your favorite team to get a single drop of milk out of a wild cow’s udder.
- Hide Race: Fastest time around the arena will earn this 2-person team (one horse rider, 1 hide rider) the grand prize of trophy belt buckles!
- Draft Horse Demonstration: Watch these colossal horses work in teams of 4 or 6 to haul wagons and coaches with great precision around the arena.
- Pig Scramble: 5 to 11 Years Old. Kids must catch a slippery pig to win a Gift Card!
- Stick Horse Competition: You may provide your own stick horse, decorated at home, or be one of the first 25 to arrive at check-in and receive a complimentary stick horse. For those that receive the free stick horse, there will be a "decoration station" at the "Kiddie Fun on the Farm" area located at the base of the Chris Beck Arena Grandstands. Decorations will be limited and contestants will be judged on the following criteria: Costume - Western Attire, Decoration of Stick Horse & Performance of short routine (walk, trot, gallop, slide stop, back up, etc). Winner receives a shiny new Belt Buckle.
- Mutton Bustin: 5 to 7 Years Old. Watch brave kids hang on for the ride of their life as they climb aboard a sheep and ride into the arena!
- Sheep Dog Demonstration: Watch teamwork in action as the handler and his dog round up 15 sheep and gently persuade all of them to climb back into a trailer for their ride back home.
- Wild Goat Milking: Teams of 2 will attempt to hand milk a goat in this contest of speed, skill, and dexterity!
- Sonoma County Fair Sheep Shearing Contest: Open Shearing, Ladies Shearing, and Junior Shearing.
- Golden State Sheep Shearing Championship: Open to Residents of the World!
- Sonoma County Fair Sheep Dog Trials (3:30pm): Take place at the conclusion of the Farmers’ Day program.
Kids Area (just inside the Brookwood gate)
- Free shows specifically for children
- Free craft projects and dress-up area
- Free creative hands-on activities
- Plenty of shade and lawn where overcharged youngsters can relax and unwind.
- Farm Fun Show: 12:30, 2:30, 4:30
- Kid-sized play sailing ship
- Giant sandbox
Barrel Racing (July 31 @ 5:30pm): Riders steer their horses around a series of barrels, coming as close as they can to shave precious seconds off the clock. Fast and furious, this sport is exhilarating for rider and spectator alike!
Gascar Crazy Animal Races: These performing animals take pig races and leave them in the dust. Instead of just pigs running around a track, think goats, sheep, chickens, pigs and even ducks!
Sourdough Slim: A one-of-a-kind performer; he sings songs of the old west, tells stories and recites cowboy poetry. As a bonus, he teaches the audience how to yodel and sing along!
Godfrey the Magician: Terry Godfrey will add a farm theme to his family-friendly magic show. This is an up close and personal magic show, so the audience can try to figure out the answer to the million-dollar question... How did he do that?
Scotty & Trink, Jugglers: Their show includes lots of physical comedy – juggling, giant unicycle and audience participation. In keeping with this year’s Fair theme, Scotty & Trink will be juggling vegetables, so watch out for flying eggplant!
Blacksmith Show: Gypsy Time Travelers combine storytelling and blacksmithing to make an entertaining, popular show.
Daily Parade: Strolling bands, floats, giant puppets and kids in costume are just the beginning! The Parade starts at 5:00 PM and lasts just 15 minutes. If you would like to be in that parade, just go to the staging area (by the Milk Barn) by 4:45 PM. You can march along while playing a drum, twirling a baton, wearing a grape costume or pulling a wagon...there are possibilities to fit all sizes and talents. We want YOU to be in the parade! *Surprise! As it starts to get dark on Friday & Saturday nights, keep an eye out for the all-new Night Parade.
Tour the Fair on a Horse-Pulled Wagon: Free Rides Daily! This is the way to see the Fair’s famed Livestock Area—from a wagon pulled by draft horses. You’ll roll along past the sheep barns, the cattle barns and the livestock area. Catch a ride at the "Welcome to the Livestock Area" sign.
Eat a FREE Clover ice cream cone: Free cones to everyone daily.
Dance to live music: Around the fairgrounds; also FREE live concerts in Community Theater (6:30 & 8pm daily)
Take a Hay Wagon Ride: Between noon and 5pm, FREE wagon rides through the livestock areas.
Treasure Hunt: Embark on a Treasure Hunt through the fairgrounds and get a prize (Treasure Hunt booklets can be picked up at any of the information booths during Fair).
Livestock Area: Presented by FFA and 4H groups - includes poultry, rabbits, pigs, cows, lambs, and goats.
Enter your stuff: Enter your child's baked foods, creative art, fiber art, gardening, hobbies, photography, special exhibits, or livestock. Entries receive FREE fair pass.
Walk through the Hall of Flowers: A home town favorite and a must see for all! Every year professional landscapers, landscape designers, amateur gardeners and young floral enthusiasts work diligently to create fully formed fantasy gardens. It takes almost four months to transform the hall into a floral wonderland as the designers adhere to a central theme that presents creative challenges.
Greentivities: Dedicated to entertaining, interactive and educational exhibits related to sustainable solutions with fun hands-on activities for kids and adults. Prepare to be delighted and intrigued by engaging creativeness and problem-solving know-how. From acting locally to thinking globally, going green has never been more enjoyable!
For more FREE Fair activities, visit the Fair's FREE Family Fun page.
Carnival Ride Ticket Prices: $1/ticket, $20/pack of 20, AND $35/pack of 45
Kiddie Carnival & Cub Country: One parent (or adult guardian) gets to ride FREE with their paying child every day on the following four great rides in the Kiddie Carnival area: Carousel, Jumping Jumbos, Dizzy Dragons and Lollie Swings.
New this year - Big Splash: A pirate themed water ride that is a portable version of the infamous theme park splash rides. Be prepared because you will get WET! The ride itself will cover over 650 feet, or more than two football fields of water filled track, it has two drops or over 30 feet and a Big Splash finale.
- Headlining Concerts
- Destruction Derby
- Monster Truck Show
Plan ahead to get the best fair prices! Purchase Pre-Sale tickets, Economy Packs, or participate in the Discount Days to get the best deals.
Single Admission Tickets:
$8 General (Ages 13+, $11 Value)
$5 Kids (Ages 7 - 12)
FREE Every Day (6 and Younger)
Carnival WOW Coupon:
$25 ($35 Value)
Includes: 10 ride tickets -OR- an all-day Carnival Wristband to enjoy unlimited rides (all ages), 2-for-1 play coupon, free popcorn and gift (subject to change). Sold only until July 23, while supplies last.
**(Not recommended for use on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays)
Season Passes, Family Packs, and Carnival Economy Packs (sold at Box Office Only June 13-July 23)
Season Admission Pass:
$40 ($165 Value, non-transferable); One person may attend all 15 days with this pass!
$35 ($50 Value)
Includes: 3 General Admissions, 2 Kids Admissions, one $7 Parking Pass.
Carnival Economy Pack:
$110 ($276 Value)
Includes: 6 Too Good To Be True Coupons for the price of 5, good on any “Too Good To Be True” day; Too Good To Be True Coupon Includes: Gate Admission and an all-day Carnival Wristband to enjoy unlimited rides (all ages).
Too Good To Be True Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays - $22:
Includes: Gate Admission and a Carnival Wristband to enjoy unlimited rides (all ages). Fairgoers may choose to purchase regular gate admission only, if they do not choose to enjoy the carnival.
Pay-One-Price Fridays - Sundays - $35:
Includes:A Carnival Wristband to enjoy unlimited rides (all ages). Use your WOW Coupon these days.
Seniors' Day Thursdays - Seniors 60 & Up FREE
Kids (7 – 12) - FREE on Fridays
Kids (6 and Younger) - FREE Every Day
Food Bank Fridays:
Bring 2 nonperishable food items and get $2 off on General Fair Admission! Limit: 1 discount/person
See you at the Fair!!!