Parking has always been a challenge for those attending the Mother Lode Fair. But this year, fair manager Jan Haden-Meyer says they are providing a fun alternative to searching for nearby parking and then walking and walking and walking to the fair.
The truck-pulled, canopy-covered trolly will take folks from two parking areas in Sonora to-and-from the fair. The free shuttle service will pick up and drop off people at the Sonora High School swimming pool and the former Sonora Community Hospital emergency room´s back entrance. The shuttle will not, however, be able to stop to pick-up passengers along the route.
During a test run of the route Monday morning, a group of fair employees, volunteers and board members made the complete round trip along Washington Street through the downtown to the high school.
After a brief stop, the shuttle proceeds to Bonanza Road and then onto Forest Road across Stockton Road to the rear entrance of the fair. The trip from the fairgrounds to the first stop on School Street took about 7 minutes, averaging a speed of about 15-to-20 miles-per-hour. The round trip takes about 25 minutes. New Sonora Police Chief Mace McIntosh followed the shuttle to make sure there were no turning or clearance problems.
Haden-Meyer says the open-air shuttle will run continuously during fair hours, starting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Alicia Keenom, a local school bus driver, will be the shuttle driver. The Apache passenger trailer on loan from the Stanislaus County Fair, will be pulled by a Dodge pickup truck on loan from Mother Lode Motors.
Those using the fair shuttle can park in the student parking lot across from the swimming pool, or in the old hospital parking areas along Forest Road. The shuttle will drop off passengers at the back entrance to the fair near the livestock barns.
Haden-Meyer says they plan on having entertainment on-board as well, including clowns and even a mariachi band.