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Mid-State Fair reports 42.5-percent increase in attendance 

mid state fair paso robles

Industrial arts auction brings in the most ever raised in a single year

– The 76th annual California Mid-State Fair returned for 12 full days July 20-31 with a theme of “Full Steam Ahead!” In addition to the usual attractions of 4-H and FFA Exhibitors, carnival rides, exhibits, food, shopping, and live music… the fair was also highlighted by a new dance area called La Cantina and saw the actual on-site build of a tiny home that was donated to Operation WEBS.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the results of the fair,” CEO Colleen Bojorquez said, “The staff and board worked extremely hard to bring back a 100-percent normal fair and we feel we accomplished that. The response from the community with the large turnout was overwhelming and proved people were ready to come experience one of the great traditions of San Luis
Obispo County. For us, seeing so many smiling faces was a dream come true.”

Livestock auctions
Revenue from the 2022 livestock auctions raised $2,469,341 on 731 animals (unofficial). Of that, $667,250 came from the Replacement Heifer Sale and $1,802,091 came from the Junior Livestock Auction. Add-ons close on Aug. 7, so auction totals will increase after Aug. 8. The total revenue raised is slightly greater than last year, according to the fair.

Michelob Ultra Concert Series 
Concerts in the Chumash Main Grandstand roared back to life with over 89,000 guests attending performances, a staggering number not seen since 2017, a year that featured two sold-out Garth Brooks concerts. This year, the biggest attractions were a sold-out Kane Brown concert, Santana, Old Dominion, Dan + Shay, Darius Rucker, Journey, Los Tigres del Norte and John Fogerty.

Industrial arts auction
This year’s auction brought in $191,000 – on 59 projects – the most ever raised in a single year. Thanks to the support from the community, over $940,000 has been brought in since the auction began over 22 years ago.

Overall attendance 
Total overall attendance topped 310,000 (unofficial) which was a 42.5-percent increase over last year’s modified fair. Official ticket counts will take several weeks to calculate, according to the fair.

Helm and Sons Amusements, Inc. of Colton, California generated almost $1,600,000 in total revenue, a 16-percent increase from 2021.

There were 6,206 entries between both adult and youth which was up significantly from last year’s 4,250. Also, the number of exhibitors between adult and youth doubled this year (1,091) from last year (560).

Slightly over 50 food and beverage (non-alcoholic) vendors reported gross revenues of just over $3 million dollars, a number that far surpassed previous fairs.

The fair once again received support from businesses and individuals in the form of corporate sponsorships. Over 90 total sponsors gave over $1.2 million dollars in cash and in-kind donations.

Central Coast Wine Competition 
The Central Coast Wine Competition named Pear Valley Vineyards as the 2022 Winery of the Year. The Paso Robles winery had 22 entries with two best of class awards, three double golds, and nine golds. This is the second Winery of the Year honor for Pear Valley.

Other winners:
Best of Show/Best of Red – Riboli Family Wines, Paso Robles, CA, 2019 San Simeon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Best Dessert – Halter Ranch, Paso Robles, CA, 2019 Vin De Paille
Best Sparkling – Vintage Wine Estates, Arroyo Grande, CA, Laetitia Brut Rosé
Best Rose – Cass Winery, Paso Robles, CA, 2022 Oasis
Best White – Midnight Cellars, Paso Robles, CA, 2021 Aurora Reserve

This year’s competition included 95 wineries and 572 wines entered. The competition features 71 classes based on grape varieties and vintages, where the “Best of “wines are selected for their varietal typicity, quality, and character. The blind-tasting event, held June 14-16 at the Paso Robles Event Center, is the largest wine competition on California’s Central Coast, which encompasses ten counties stretching from Alameda to Ventura. It was sponsored this year by Bank of the Sierra.

Central Coast Vinegar Competition 
The Central Coast Vinegar Competition featured three brands with seven total entries in 11 classes based on varieties. The Best of Show winner was Kismet Refining Company from Escondido, Calif., with their Black Garlic Balsamic.

California Craft Spirits Competition 
The California Craft Spirits Competition featured 60 total classes with 17 companies and 47 total entries.

Best of Show/Best White Spirit – Wine Shine & Tin City Distillery, Paso Robles, CA, Vodka
Best Brandy – Bethel Rd. Distillery, Templeton, CA, VSOP
Best Liqueur – Bethel Rd. Distillery, Templeton, CA, Orange Liqueur

San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Awards
Winemaker of the Year – Bob Lindquist, Verdad Wine Cellars & Lindquist Family Wines
Wine Grape Grower of the Year – Hilary Graves, Booker Vineyard
Wine Industry Person of the Year – Gretchen Roddick, Hope Family Wines

Agriculture awards
Agriculturalist of the Year – Tom Bordonaro
Cattlewoman of the Year – Sarah Kramer
Cattleman of the Year – Paul Tognazzini

Country Rodero Finals Winners
The Country Rodeo Finals All-Around Cowboy was Colter Negrante. Other winners:

Team Penning – Cody Mora, Chad Rava, Tom Martinus.
Barrels – Megan McNulty.
Ranch Rope & Brand – Will Centoni, Brinan Varian, Ryan Pascoe, Keith Pascoe.
Mixed Ribbon Roping – Cody Mora, Lilly Thompson.
Match Roping – Kelly Barker, Clayton Grant.
Double Mugging – Danny Leslie, Franky Martinez.
Ladies Breakaway Roping – Grace Lopez.

Legacy Project Scholarship 
The James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund selected Cody Domingos as the 2022 Scholarship winner. Domingos is the first winner to submit a welding project to the committee. He is a senior at Paso Robles High School and very active in his local FFA Chapter and is the captain of the water polo team. At the award ceremony, both his welding teacher and water polo coach spoke highly of his leadership skills and compassion towards others. After graduation, Domingos plans to attend the University of Tennessee to major in Food and Ag Business with a minor in Marketing.

Miss California Mid-State Fair
This year’s Queen was 17-year-old Brooke Smith of Templeton. She was also named Miss Congeniality. Smith is a graduate of Templeton High School and will be attending Cuesta College and her hobbies and interests include jet skiing, horseback riding, and showing animals. 19-year-old Sarah Barr of Templeton was the 1st runner-up and 17-year-old Jenna Shapero of Paso Robles was the 2nd runner-up.

The 2023 California Mid-State Fair runs July 19-30.

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at