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Lodi Grape Festival not enough? Try the Stockton fair

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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:13 am, Wed Jan 30, 2013.

If the Lodi Grape Festival didn't get fair activities out of your system last weekend, you can go 15 miles south for another one the next two weekends. The San Joaquin Fair opens Thursday in Stockton.

The Stockton fair has changed its calendar frequently in recent years, primarily due to the horse racing schedule set by the California Horse Racing Board, a seven-member commission appointed by the governor.

Horse racing is of critical importance to the San Joaquin Fair because revenue from the races helps finance other fair attractions such as carnival rides and entertainment, said Joe Valente, a Lodi farmer and member of the fair's board of directors.

Junior livestock auction set for Sept. 29

The junior livestock auction is the culmination of a year's project activities for 4-H, Future Farmers of America and Grange members. They showcase animals including rabbits, goats, turkeys, sheep, swine and cattle.

The September schedule had produced some logistical challenges because children and teens exhibiting animals are in school. Some students are involved in other school activities, such as athletics.

"We're doing as much as we can to accommodate the kids as much as possible," Valente said.

For example, the fair board, which used to schedule the dairy animal exhibit for Friday nights, moved it to Saturday to accommodate students, said Valente.

The junior livestock auction will begin at 9 a.m. Sept. 29.

One benefit to having a September fair, Valente said, is that San Joaquin County farmers can exhibit more crops such as walnuts, grapes and corn. Another benefit, he said, is that vendors at the Lodi Grape Festival last week can take the short drive to Stockton this week.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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