The four day run of the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee gets underway today.
New fair CEO Ray Malerbi is excited about his first year heading up the fair. With the opening of the 2004 run just hours away, we asked Ray for his first impressions. He said one of the thing that has really impressed him is all the support and involvement from the community, local organizations and businesses. “They´ve all stepped up to help us either with donations, equipment or materials,” he said commenting from his busy fair office yesterday afternoon.
Fairgoers this year will see a number of changes…some obvious, some not so. “We´ve done a lot of work redoing our barns and some of our buildings.” Malerbi said pointing to the community efforts.
Another new attraction this year to the fair are elephant rides. Brave souls can hop atop one of two Asian elephants and learn about the endangered species while trundling around the grounds.
The carnival is located in a different spot on the Frog Town fairgrounds this year and is “36 percent bigger,” according to Malerbi.
At 1 p.m Thursday afternoon, the Saddle Queen competition takes place at the Frog Town Arena. Contestants this year include: Danielle Larson, Stephanie Walker, Rikki Green, Amanda Menezes, Kayla Cardwell and Kelsey Markus.
Tonight activities shine with the crowning of the Miss Calaveras Scholarship Pageant at the Main Stage. Twelve young ladies will competebeginning at 8 p.m.
The Flying U Rodeo brings its bucking broncs and bull riding action to the fair Friday night. Rodeo boss Cotton Rosser said he plans a huge opening ceremony to kick off the fun. The rodeo will showcase some trick ropers and thrill riders as well.
And what would the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee be without jumping frogs? The new fair manager said they will be jumping frogs each day during the fair with the International Frog Jump finals Sunday at 2 p.m.
He said this year a new jump record might be set. “I am told by some of the people that run the frog jump for us that we have perfect weather to break the record.” Malerbi added if they have a frog that does on Sunday, the winner will get $5,000.
Gates open at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. “We think we´re putting on the biggest party in Calaveras County, so we´d love to have everybody come out and join us,” said Malerbi.