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Gates open for 2001 San Joaquin Fair

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Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2001 10:00 pm

Can you smell the barbecued chicken? Hear Harley the giant pig squeal? Feel the rumble of the horses racing?

The San Joaquin Fair kicked off Wednesday with horse races, rides, 4-H competitions, and a variety of food and merchandise vendors.

Musical legend Creedence Clearwater Revisited kicked off the first night of musical entertainment on the main stage.

Lodians can't forget the famous, "Lodi," song.

"Oh Lord - stuck in Lodi again," the song's refrain, grows from the band's experience when three times their bus broke down in Lodi, crew member Tim Lawrence said.

It takes Lawrence a couple of hours to put together the sound system for the band's tour.

But before CCR took to the stage, the fair had already been underway for eight hours. The grounds were packed full of summertime fairgoers.

The horse races started at 12:15 p.m. with the sound of the bugler's horn. Dressed in his traditional red jacket and tall black boots, he set the race in motion. The scene was full of bright-colored jerseys in pink, red, yellow and blue, some with diamonds and others stripes. The colors became a blur as the horses galloped past the score board on the soft track.

"Come on! Come on!" horse race enthusiasts.

"Superstar wins!" the announcer said.

Elaine McCallion of Manteca came the first day because seniors get in free and because her husband comes for the horse races, she said. It's a nice way to spend the day, she added.

Tracy Sepulveda, also a horse racing fan, comes to the San Joaquin Fair at least once every year. She enjoys the live racing, she said.

Stephanie Horton, 13, has shown cows and rabbits in 4-H for three years. She spends almost two hours a day working with her dairy cow, Trina. Those hours are spent clipping, cleaning and training Trina before she is auctioned off.

It doesn't bother Horton that she'll sell her cow in the end. She knows that Trina will be alive and well at a dairy farm in the area.

"If I want to go visit her, I'll be able to," Horton said. She loves working with animals and hopes to become a veterinarian, she said.

Nancy Cabral of Stockton always comes on the first day of the fair. "I brought my granddaughter," she said. "It's a good day, much cooler than last year."

Last year's fair temperature reached 106 degrees. This year, it stayed around 86 degrees with 15-mph winds.

Just look for the giant lemon if you're looking for a cool glass of lemonade.

Clint Mullen was a potato and onion farmer in Washington when he decided to do something new. Surrounded by yellow, Mullen lives in a giant lemon as he goes from town to town during fair season squeezing lemons for thirsty patrons. He needs 500 lemons a day to produce his freshly squeezed lemonade.

"My brother runs a mechanical bull and he said if I could find a giant lemon lemonade stand I'd have it made," Mullen said. "So I started looking and I found one on eBay."

The petting zoo is always a favorite among the young ones. Owner Meachelle Roose said the miniature pony, Nancy, a 23-inch paint mare, is the favorite. Others include the pigmy goats.

Roose's son, Dalton, enjoys the animals the most. He spends his days playing in their pens at their home, she said.

"I don't think he realizes yet that not all kids get to run around with a kangaroo, a camel and a coatimundi," Roose said. "Last night our two dogs, baby potbellied pig and the coatimundi were asleep in a ball in the living room."

Chris Weaver, 13, will spend the entire two weeks of the fair in the barn area. A Harmony Grove 4-H member, he loves his black angus heifer, October Storm.

"When I go into the field and call her name she comes running," said Weaver, who spends hours with clipping, walking and washing the heifer, and cleaning her hooves.

"She's like a dog but a lot bigger," Weaver said.

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