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Glenn County exhibit takes gold
Soaring temperatures haven't discouraged people from attending the California State Fair in Sacramento.
People escaped Saturday's heat by strolling through indoor exhibits like the California Building, where Glenn and 28 other counties showcased their industries, attractions, agriculture and diversity of its people.
Glenn County struck gold again with its tribute to raising kids in a rural environment.
The "Growing up Green" exhibit not only took home a Gold Award, but won for best use of special effects and animation.
"I like it because some of the dolls looks like Chucky," said Hayden Woods, 12, of Sacramento. "You know, from the movie."
The counties exhibit has been a long-standing fan favorite and always draw big crowds of fairgoers every year.
"You can tell the counties that really make an effort," said the Rev. Ken Edwards of Williams. "It shows in their work."
Solano County took Best of Show and the best craftsmanship award, but other counties followed closely.
Tehama County won a Silver Award for its tribute to Lassen Volcanic National Park.
"Tehama's exhibit is actually kind of cool," said Wayne Saxton of Corning. "It's like walking into a big rock."
Colusa County won a Silver Award, and took home the coveted Superintendent's Award for community participation.
Colusa's exhibit showcased camping, fishing and hunting opportunities in the Mendocino National Forest.
Other top awards included Placer County's best content award and Sierra County's best use of produce and products.
Placer County won for best design and Sacramento County won for best marketing.
San Joaquin County won for the best agriculture presentation.
"The exhibits are all kinds of fun to look at, and you learn something," Woods said. "I didn't know anything about a lot of the counties, but I do now."
Best visitor experience award went to Tuolumne County.
Gold awards also went to Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Mendocino and Mono counties.
State Fair visitors were able to vote for the People's Choice Award, which will be announced Sunday when the State Fair ends its 18-day run.
"Mono's is not the most elaborate exhibit, but I love that it depicts the old west," said Shirley Manderia of Sacramento. "The exhibits do what they are designed to do - make you want to go there. Until today, I didn't know there was a Mono County."
The livestock exhibit was another big hit with State Fair visitors.
Local dairy exhibitors included 4-H teen leaders Loretta Howard and Victoria Shuey of Orland, whose repeat State Fair performance in showmanship brought home more awards.
Orland's Brentwood Farms also made a showing with its prize winning Guernsey dairy cattle.
When Clover 4-H member Garrett Otterson, 12, of Willows, earned his second trip to the State Fair at the Glenn County Fair in May, he knew what he was facing in the Best of County master showmanship competition.
Saturday's competition judged the contestants knowledge and showmanship of goats, dogs, cavies, poultry and rabbits, although the animals shown are not their own.
"The judges ask you a lot of hard questions but it's really fun," said Otterson. "But it's something you should study for all year instead of waiting until just a few months before the State Fair."
Although he didn't place for the top awards, Otterson said the experience has inspired him to show his own goats at the State Fair in 2013.
Otterson also hopes to earn another opportunity to win in master showmanship.
"Next year I'm bringing home the Golden Bear," he said.
In addition to livestock and agriculture exhibits, Cal Expo visitors enjoyed the kids park, horse-racing, monster truck rides, freestyle motocross and cooking competitions.
And what's a visit to the State Fair without a bite or two of novelty dishes like deep-fried macaroni and cheese or a Donut Dog - a hot-dog stuffed maple bar.
Although last year's American Idol winner Scotty McCreeery was a big hit on Saturday, he's not the only entertainer taking to the stage.
The 1980s icon Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are set to appear Friday.
Carrying out this year's theme "Fun That Moves You," the 600-foot-long High Fly'n Zip Line ride made its debut at this year's State Fair to mostly enthusiastic teens who soared over the midway at 35 mph.
"It was incredible," said Clarissa Jones, 19, of Stockton. "It's something I always wanted to do."
Over the weekend, eight men lined up on state and gorged themselves on hot dogs, while families strolled with children through the midway.
Escaping triple digits on Saturday, Martin and Chelsea Anderson of Redding ducked into the Sun-Maid building — a family-friendly interactive exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of dried fruit and sunshine — to cool off.
"We pop in here and get the kids a free box of raisins and they are energized for more," said Chelsea Anderson. "We never miss the fair no matter how hot it gets."
Girl Scouts of America also celebrated its 100th anniversary with an history-rich exhibit at the State Fair.