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'Celebrate good times' at the San Joaquin Fair, which starts Wednesday

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Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:00 am

When Kool and the Gang sing their famous lyrics, "Celebrate good times, come on," at the San Joaquin Fair later this weekend, it will have special meaning. The fair, which opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday in Stockton, is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

In honor of the anniversary, the first 150 people through the gate Wednesday will get free admission. Fair board member Mitch Slater says dignitaries, local and statewide, have been invited to attend the opening-day ceremonies, which will include a parade by the Lincoln High School marching band.

A lot has changed since the fair opened in 1860, when it was a small four-day exhibit in Hunter Square.

"It was an agricultural fair, and we still try to stay true to our roots," said fair marketing director Lea Isetti.

Over the years, rides were added to the festivities, as well as food, art exhibits, performances and concerts, making the event one of the largest local events of the year.

A huge draw to the fair are the horse races, which have always been a fair focus. Slater says the fairgrounds have been spruced up and the winner's circle and fencing has been painted. To support breast cancer awareness, pink ribbon stakes will be posted and jockeys will wear pink pants or helmets in Saturday's race.

Many people attend the fair for the concerts that start each night at 8 p.m. Concerts are free with fair admission. This year's line-up includes Jose Feliciano, Sawyer Brown, Kool and The Gang, Tower of Power and Lupillo Rivera.

Locals will perform on the community stage, which hasn't been featured at a San Joaquin Fair since 2005. Manteca Idol, a ballet folklorico group, the mariachi band from Chaves High School, and other school and art groups will be able to showcase their talents on the community stage throughout the week.

To help families escape the June heat, a new Family Cool Zone is set aside to offer shade and water activities for children and parents. Younger children will be entertained with interactive games, duck races, sandboxes, while parents enjoy the shade.

"You can literally cool off," Slater said.

Just outside the Cool Zone will be a merry-go-round that only costs 10 cents to ride. All dimes will be donated to the March of Dimes.

Fair CEO Debbie Cook says the fair will offer a lot more, including a new entertainment venue and a Steel Guitar Lounge where there will be food and beverages and four plasma TVs playing sports.

Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

San Joaquin Fair at a glance

Where: San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, Airport Way and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Stockton.

Dates: June 16-20.

Hours: Noon to 10 p.m.

Information: 466-5041, www.sanjoaquinfair.com.


Adults: $9 ($6 in advance).

Children: $5 ($3 in advance).

Kids ages 5 and under are free.

— Seniors and children are free on Thursday.

— Order tickets online at www.sanjoaquinfair.com or call 466-5739.

Carnival coupons and wristbands

Coupon: $25 ($20 in advance).

— Coupons are good any one day until 11 p.m.

— Good for either one wristband (unlimited ride pass) or 30 tickets.

— Rides require 2-5 tickets each.

— Fair hours are noon-10 p.m. each day.


Wednesday, June 16: Jose Feliciano

Thursday, June 17: Feliciano is the Puerto Rican singer, guitarist and composer known for his 1970 holiday single, "Feliz Navidad."

Thursday, June 17: Sawyer Brown

How you know the band: Sawyer Brown is a country band is known for their song, "Enter Sandman," released on their 1984 album, "Who the Hell Cares About Steven."

Friday, June 18: Kool and The Gang

How you know the band: Kool and The Gang formed in 1964 and have sold more than 70 million albums since. They are best known for their songs "Celebration," "Get Down on it," and "Jungle Boogie," which was featured in the cult classic film, "Pulp Fiction."

Saturday, June 19: Tower of Power

How you know Tower of Power: The Bay-Area band Tower of Power formed in the '60s and are known for singles such as "So Very Hard to Go," "This Time It's Real" and "What is Hip?"

Sunday, June 20: Lupillo Rivera

How you know Lupillo Rivera: Rivera has released two albums in the past two years, with "Apoco Si," "Empresa NC," "Epoca De Oro" and "Esclavo Y Amo," being the most popular songs.

Concerts are free with fair admission.

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  • posted at 9:57 am on Wed, Jun 16, 2010.


    Gotta see Tower of Power. Just to see if the horn line is still as powerfull as back in the day.

  • posted at 9:09 am on Tue, Jun 15, 2010.


    Watch out for the gun fire!!!

  • posted at 8:29 am on Tue, Jun 15, 2010.


    Lauren, next time you do an article like this, don't rely on "Wikipedia" for your information. Sawyer Brown doesn't have an album "Who the Hell Cares About Steven", and "Enter Sandman" is a Metallica song. Thanks for the laugh though. And, nobody cares about old "Star Search" winners now, just like they won't care about "American Idol" winners in a decade.

  • posted at 7:45 am on Tue, Jun 15, 2010.


    Sad that I am going to miss it this year. Going to the Ed Waldo Childrens fund fishing derby. Hope to see you all there.

  • posted at 4:13 am on Tue, Jun 15, 2010.


    Of course, Jose Feliciano will not sing Feliz Navidad. But watch out for his classical version of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.



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