The Sonoma County Fair is a fun place to go for corn dogs, kiddie rides and midway games, but there’s also a more thoughtful side to the fair.

This year’s event, themed “Peace, Love & Fair,” runs from Thursday (July 24) through Aug. 10 at the fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and organizers are mixing in a little painless learning with the fun.

“Greentivities” returns for its third year as a partnership between the Sonoma County Fair and the county’s Energy and Sustainability Division.

The showcase fills the 3,800-square-foot Garden Building with interactive exhibits on water conservation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction and healthy eating and living.

But don’t worry. The mood is not too serious. There’ll be a costumed character called Eco-Frog on hand to greet the children.

Now in its 78th year, the fair has its roots in local agriculture, and Farmer’s Day honors that tradition, with wild cow and goat milking, the pig scramble and more, from 1 to 3 p.m. July 27.

“Cooking with Laurie,” a series of half-hour kitchen demonstrations by Laurie Figone at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. every day of the fair, offers you a chance to take home some new and healthy recipes.

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In keeping with the fair’s 1960s theme this year, fair-goers can show off their knowledge of the era at the “Sixties Trivia Quiz,” to be held twice, at 2:15 p.m. Thursday and Aug. 5 at the Park Stage. There’s also a “Sixties TV Trivia Quiz” at 2:15 p.m. July 29 and a “Woodstock Trivia Contest” at 2: 15 p.m. July 30. Sign up at least 10 minutes before the contest.

You can walk the dog and you can feed the cat, but how often do you come face-to-face with a sea lion? Sea Lion Encounter is a traveling animal act with a mission -- supporting education, conservation and research projects.

Drop in and learn a new skill at one of the fair’s “Inspiration Stations” scattered around the exhibit halls. Find out all about letterpress printing, rug hooking, working with fused glass, fly tying and more.

The fair gates will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa.

Admission: $5-11; age 6 and younger free. Ages 7-12 free on Fridays. Ages 60 and older free on Thursdays.

Information: 545-4200; sonomacountyfair.com.

— Dan Taylor