county fair

Brothers Keaton and Robert Franklin of Brentwood at the annual Contra Costa County Fair in Antioch, May 18, 2018. 

The Contra Costa County Fair is coming to Antioch May 16-19, bringing with it some sweet surprises. In its 83rd year, the fair will be pulling out all the stops to celebrate this year’s theme: a sweet adventure.

“We are doing some sweet feature food items with our food vendors for fair goers to check out,” said Joe Brengle, CEO of the Contra Costa Event Park. “And a new event this year is the Wild West Turkey Stampede Races.”

In addition to the races, other new events include K9 Kings Flying Dog Show and a Bruno Mars tribute band, called Uptown Funk. Some returning favorites are the trackless train, Flo the clown, and the fuzzy and loveable BC Characters. Visitors will also have a variety of show choices, the livestock pavilion to visit, as well as carnival rides and games, auto racing and a bird show.

“We are excited with our theme this year and feel that we are going to have a great fair,” Brengle added. “We invite everybody to come out and have a great day.”

A big part of county fairs are the exhibits, where locals of all ages can display projects they’ve spent months working on. Ranging from livestock and agriculture, to art and quilting, these projects represent hard work and commitment from their creators.

A senior at Liberty High School, Maverick Dean is a three-year member of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and will be selling his Hampshire swine, “Roast Malone,” at the fair’s junior livestock auction.

“The fair has really helped me become a good leader and boost my confidence,” Dean said. “Last year, I got second place in showmanship and sixth in market. It was exciting and I really surprised myself.”

Dean added that his work in the FFA program at Liberty has inspired him to become a veterinarian. He plans to attend Los Medanos College in the fall and later transfer to UC Davis.

The Knightsen 4-H club is also gearing up for the fair. The oldest 4-H program in the state, its members flock to the fair each year in hopes of taking home the blue ribbon. Knightsen School District Superintendent, Harvey Yurkovich, said many of his students miss school the week of the fair, so he and his teachers decided to bring the classroom to them.

“One of our teachers, Susan Dutra, will be at the fair Tuesday through Friday,” Yurkovich said, adding that Dutra will hold class in the mornings, conducting lessons and helping with teacher-provided homework.

Yurkovich hopes that, rather than just missing out on learning opportunities, this schedule will allow students to get their class time in the morning and animal care time in the afternoon. On Friday, the 4-H students will have the chance to show off their projects to the district’s younger students. All first and second graders from the district are going to the fair for a field trip on Friday morning and will stop by the 4-H exhibit.

The Contra Costa County Fair will run Thursday, May 16, to Sunday, May 19. Hours are noon to 9:30 p.m., daily. The fairgrounds are located at 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch.

For more information on tickets, exhibits, rides, shows and everything else the fair has to offer, call 925-757-4400, or visit