Sunny Days and Funny Nights – A great time at the Fair

Valley Jazz sax player solos during one of their numbers
Valley Jazz sax player solos during one of their numbers

IMPERIAL – The California Mid-Winter Fair enjoyed warm, sunny days rather than the stormy, wet, and windy conditions normally associated with the ten-day county event. The fair board and staff worked hard to bring the county a first class experience with custodians keeping the grounds and bathrooms in clean condition and hiring a carnival that ensured safety in rides and personnel.

“We are very happy with Helms Brothers Amusements, the company that brings us our rides. We have been with them for years now. They drug test their employees frequently, do background checks before hiring, and require no smoking or cursing in front of the customers,” Jim Hamilton, fair board member said.

One of the greatest attractions to our fair is the livestock. This year was no exception with quality judges brought in from around the country that took time to individually speak to the competitors and they worked hard from morning until the judging finished long past the sun setting.

Some of the unspoken heroes were the Junior Livestock Fair Board high school volunteers and their leaders who helped the judges cycle through thousands of livestock shows in an orderly manner, passed out ribbons, ran the various mid-week competitions, high school madness, VIP soirees, and everything else they were asked.

Doc’s Barn, a nursery for farm animals, was another success with a Jersey cow giving birth the first weekend of the fair to the awe of a roomful of watchers. A mother sow layed in her farrowing crate nursing her litter of piglets and the ever-delightful baby goats amused fair goers with their young antics.

To top off the success was the Junior Livestock Auction on the last weekend of the fair, which again broke records by bringing in $2,061,544. Last year the auction brought in $1,858,756.

The valley is filled with generous buyers who reward the youth’s hard work with their animals. While numbers could change as things settle out this was, again, an amazing auction.

  • Fueled by nine days of sunshine, estimated attendance was over 110,000. Paid attendance was up over 5%, and overall attendance increased 10% with additional performers, vendors and participants.
  • Presale carnival sales were up 5%, with overall carnival ticket sales up 10%.
  • Food concessions were up 6% over 2015 and beer concessions increased approximately 10%.
  • The Inspiration Gallery hosted many ‘Make-it-Take it’ workshops plus displayed the nearly 2,000 exhibits from 500 Imperial Valley’s talented youth.
  • Over $10,000 in premium money was earned
  • 953 livestock exhibitors showing 2,630 animals
  • California Mid-Winter Fair’s Heritage Foundation made arrangements for over 660,000 pounds of used shavings to be hauled to Imperial Compost rather than go in the land fill.
  • Over 1,500 local performers showcased their talents.
  • The last weekend the fair hosted auto racing and the Redneck Rodeo.
  • Doc’s Farm – population: 
    • 4 baby calves born at the fair
    • 2 calves that the public could bottle feed
    • Baby chicks that hatched