culture / Day Trips / music / Shows / Venues

Off the Grid: Dixon May Fair

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The ride to Dixon from Sacramento is not a long one, however by the time you get there it seems as if you a so far from home.  Dixon smells of warm wet grass and feels a bit Mayberry-esque.  The houses are all very charming with deep-set porches made for warm summer nights. Downtown is tiny as ever and the main street in town is ironically called Main Street.  It seemed the entire town is headed to the fair for opening night, traffic is packed and neighbors are walking towards the fairgrounds.

Parking for the fair was a reasonable five dollars, or street parking was available for  free.  From the fair parking lot it was just a skip across the street with barely a line to get in.  Once you enter the fairgrounds, one of  the first things you will find corn dogs and funnel cakes.  There were plenty of other food vendors to choose from. The smell of BBQ took us to the end of the food strip and the smell of churros brought us back to the beginning. We found rolled tacos to seafood, chinese to ice cream and cotton candy in-between the two ends. We walked up and down the strip to make a decision.  Staying true to our first instinct, we chose corn dogs.  They were a bit greasy however, nothing else truly screams fair to me more then food on a stick.  They were the perfect plan.

The exhibits were nice.  The flower show had some amazing arrangements although by the time we walked through the building the cut flowers were not looking so good.  While it was disappointing seeing so much hard work wilting away, it was a hot day.  We also discovered the youth art exhibit.  Teenage art that is so fresh and raw I am always intrigued.  The exhibit had an abundance of photography.  It was very interesting to see the life of Dixon from a youths perspective.  The walls held plenty of photos of livestock and dogs sitting on hot porches.  Dixon was spotlighted as a sleepy town that you want to settle right into.

Coming out of the exhibit area, if you head down the food alley, just past the BBQ station you will find the livestock.  It starts out with cows and then you will find everything from rabbits to pigs to llamas all lined up for the crowds viewing pleasure.  Most cages had a tag attached with the animal’s name, weight, breed and maybe a ribbon if they were lucky.  The llamas had peculiar personalities as if they were intrigued by the visitors however if they caught you looking their way they would turn their head playing coy.  The rooster and chickens were kept in a building cleverly called the Dixon Hotel.  It was the loudest of the animal area with all the squawking and crowing.   The pigs were flat-out funny, sticking their snouts through the cage plus the oinking just causes you to giggle.  We even found some new-born goats who truly made our hearts melt.  Children of all sizes gathered to get a look at the pint-sized pack.

Eventually we made our way toward the rides and games.  Now Dixon knows how to do the fairway.  The amount of games alone was enough to keep you busy for quite some time.  Each game came with the promise of winning a giant stuffed animal, a goldfish or something of the sort.  We made sure to participate in a squirt gun race and then threw some darts attempting to win an iPad. In true fair form you were able swing a sledge-hammer in hopes to ring the bell and win a prize.  My muscles fell short however one fine fella rang the bell and his lucky lady was able to add a blow up guitar to her fine collection of prizes.

The musical acts only added to an already extremely entertaining fair.  The opening night act was Snoop Dogg.  The security was high and the police looked a bit nervous however the crowd was mellow.  Girls dressed in heels and tiny dresses stumbling through the field ready for a great show.  Seven o’clock the opening band kicks off.  N2deep sings some old school jams that remind me that cassettes used to exist.  The opening band ends at 7:30.  We wait, and wait and finally, at 9:15, a bus pulls up.  He has arrived.  The stage lights up and here we go. Cold and a bit angry, the crowd migrates to the front of the stage.  And then you see a shift in mood, bodies started moving and shaking.  Between good ol’ Uncle Joe at age 77 on stage dancing and smiling at all the ladies and the nasty dog mascot with his enormous joint, and the dancing-girls shaking their booties you were bound to have a good time.  The crowd was in full force.  Snoop brought plenty of old and new songs to the stage which kept a very diverse crowd happy and grooving through the entire show.  It was a fantastic way to end the fair experience.

The Dixon May fair may be a bit smaller than other fairs but it is not lacking any charm at all.  You will find something for the entire family to enjoy.  Between the fantastic music acts, the small town charm, and the fun and games you will not be disappointed.   It is no wonder it is the longest running California County fair.  If you haven’t caught this one yet put it on the to do list.

Words by Melissa Uroff

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