The 2019 Big Fresno Fair returns with new attractions

The annual Big Fresno Fair returns this year for the 136th anniversary and with it brings new exhibit attractions and food vendors for old and new fairgoers to explore.

The fair began on Oct. 2 and will continue through Oct. 14, with one extra day compared to last year’s length so attendees can enjoy a variety of carnival rides, fried food, interesting exhibits and more.

Known for being a crowded hot spot for friends and family members to gather during the month of October, this year’s fair seems to miss the mark in drawing attendance from the Fresno community.

Walking from the Livestock building all the way to the carnival rides during the day is an easy feat since crowds tend to wait until early evening, around 5 and 6 p.m., as the prime time to visit.

The Showdown, a new educational esports gaming experience, is one of the new attractions that the fair has been advertising. Located in the Junior Exhibits building, kids 8 years old and up and young adults can participate in tournaments twice a day that offer cash prizes. All players can enter for free with their fair ticket.

There are 25 monitors with a variety of gaming systems (Nintendo Gamecube and 64, Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation classic and newer editions) and virtual reality devices for players to try out. 

Old-school arcade games were also available for attendees to test their joystick skills playing games like “Space Invaders” and “Street Fighter.”

This new exhibit was provided by the Big Fresno Fair partnering with gaming companies Blue Shell Gaming and Virtual Reality.

The Sierra to the Sea exhibit is another new attraction that offers attendees the opportunity to experience marine life and everything people love about the ocean without leaving the city of Fresno.

Located south of The Greenhouse building, fairgoers can enter an ocean-themed exhibit that welcomes visitors with a showcase of taxidermied marine life, informational posters about sea animals, a giant sand castle display and interactive tide pools and encounters that let attendees feed and touch stingrays, starfish and coral.

This exhibit is closed from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

For fried food lovers, an abundance can be bought at the fairgrounds, with new food vendors and food item options for fairgoers to look forward to this year.

Oftentimes, fair food is the biggest pull for visitors to continually return year after year as they enjoy a wide variety of food trucks to choose from around every corner.

Numerous food vendors branched out by experimenting with a Hot Cheetos theme for this year’s food choices, including a buffalo chicken chimichanga at Chicken Charlie’s; crazy fries at Good Ol’ Burgers; Hot Cheetos corn dogs at Colossal Dog; and Hot Cheetos baked potatoes at Corn Stars.

For those looking to try a new twist on the classic fried corn dog, the Hot Cheetos corn dogs at Colossal Dog, located near the southwest side of the Pavillion Stage, may be an interesting choice to pick from.

Customers can choose to buy corn dogs, regular for $8 or jumbo for $10, with a Hot Cheetos batter, slathered in nacho cheese and topped off with Hot Cheetos crumbs and pieces.

For a sweet treat, fairgoers can visit one of the new food vendors inside of the Industry Commerce building for a taste of cotton candy. However, this isn’t your regular sugary fluff.

Cotton Candy Flower uses a robotic machine that creates a variety of flowers molded from cotton candy to create a picturesque dessert with a rainbow of flavors. 

Sold at a price of $8 and $9, customers can also pose for pictures with their cotton candy. Inside of the food vendor’s booth is a setup consisting of a ring of lights and a frilly pink curtain backdrop to match the sweet treat.

To find a seat to rest or eat some delicious food, fairgoers can stop by the benches and tables at and around the Pavillion Stage.

A new display of unique art based on turning “trash to treasure” can be found near the northeast side of the Pavillion Stage, including a red stone bench with two Bulldog statues in honor of Fresno State football head coach Jeff Tedford. 

Tedford was awarded this art piece in honor of the Fresno State football team’s NCAA record, which, under his guidance, was “the first program to string together back-to-back double digit winning seasons following a double digit losing season,” according to the provided plaque.

Tickets for the Big Fresno Fair are $12 for adults; free for children ages 5 years old and under; and $8 for children ages 6 to 12 years old, seniors ages 62 years old and over and military with valid ID.

The Big Fresno Fair can be located at 1121 S. Chance Ave. Fresno State students can use their school ID to use bus transportation to and from campus and the fair.

Follow these directions for the easiest route to the fairgrounds.

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