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Petaluma fair expects record year

  • Kyle Wall, 7, and Bill Cutting ride the Wacky Worm on the final day of the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Sunday, June 23, 2013 in Petaluma, California. (Beth Schlanker / PD)

Children lassoed model steer, stuffed straw into scarecrows and rang old rusty farm dinner bells Sunday, the final day of the Sonoma-Marin Fair.

The Ag-Ventureland booth at the Petaluma fairgrounds gave children like Alexis Ward, 10, a chance to milk a cow, albeit a plastic one.

“It's hard,” the fifth-grader said, pulling a steady stream from the rubber udders.

2013 World's Ugliest Dog Contest

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“It takes a heavy hand, pull down,” her mother, Tami Ward of Healdsburg, said.

Despite clouds that threatened rain, the lines for the twirling Tornado ride and lemonade ran long during the last afternoon of the five-day fair.

Fair CEO Patricia Conklin said she expects that about 62,000 people will have attended the fair once the tickets are tallied. Attendance was on track to beat 2012, a record year, she said.

“We thought, if we hit last year we're good, but we're up from that,” Conklin said.

Families crowded into bleachers and on the ground to watch dogs leap and jump through obstacle courses and prechoolers pour their might into pedaling mini tractors.

New to the Sonoma-Marin Fair, bilingual magicians Rafael and Katia from the Los Angeles area were on the Kiwanis stage Sunday. The audience watched as Rafael created the illusion that Katia was levitating. As she stood, Rafael bent down and picked up her feet and she floated on her side, eyes closed and arms hanging limp.

Fair organizers brought the group on as they sought to bring a more diverse group of performances to this year's fair, Conklin said.

On the main stage, the Fiesta Latina concert featured the horn-driven Mexican bandas and accordion-based norteño music sounds. Two local bands, Los Nuevos Aventureros and Banda La Congora, opened for the headliner from Fresno, Banda Oro Verde.

In the Bianchi Barn, a gray and black alpine goat named Drea-Rose stepped its front hooves up onto the fence to get a better sniff of 4-year-old Eoin Kelly.

The boy petted the goat's soft coat, eyes wide and utterly charmed.

“I want the biggest one!” he called to his mother, Katy Kelly, 27 of Rohnert Park.

You can reach Staff Writer

Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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