Merced County Spring Fair returns after 2-year absence

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fair season is springing into action!

The Merced County Spring Fair is back in Los Banos with a lot of happy fairgoers.

"I am so so excited," says Sophia Fucilo. "I love to show my cow and this is really important to me."

Trisha Fucilo was born and raised in Los Banos - she's happy to continue the tradition with her daughter.

"We are so happy that it's back and it was really sad not having it the last two years," she said.

For more than 130 years, families with roots in the North Valley have enjoyed the big event.

You can expect an array of foods including hand-dipped corn dogs, finely shaved ice and fresh pretzels.

Of course, we found the famous country fair cinnamon rolls.

Owner Dane Baldwin has been at the fair for more than 40 years.

He says it's one of their favorite stops on the tour and he's thankful to be back.

"This is absolutely one of our favorite stops on tour," Baldwin said.

There's also bungee jumping, rides, concerts, customized shirts and you can't forget the animals at the livestock show.

You may also notice a new face around fairgrounds. Guy Gary will be the next fair manager.

The interim and former longtime fair manager, Bob Walker, tells me came out of retirement to make it happen.

"It feels great because I can't play golf every day," he said. "This is fun."

While it's still a full house, Walker says they lost several vendors due to the pandemic,

He says it's been a maintenance nightmare getting electrical systems fired back up.

But their single biggest challenge has been finding employees to work.

"When they come up to the ticket booth and there's only one ticket seller there, it's not because we are stupid," Walker said. "It's because that's all we could hire."

But once you're inside the gates, the vendors hope to make any wait worthwhile.

Mark Davis was popping fresh kettle corn right out of the pot when we walked up. He's been at the same spot for 20 years.

Davis says he missed his fair family the most.

While they took a big loss these last two years, they are glad to be back.

"Everybody kind of suffered a little bit but now, we are excited to start up again and we are glad to be here," he said.
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