The following is a press release issued by the Redwood Empire Fair:
The gates opened promptly at three, and the whir of the Ferris Wheel began at the same time. For thousands of people, the Redwood Empire Fair marks a weekend of family fun, stiff competition, thrills and nostalgia.
Patients of Ukiah Post-Acute Nursing Home were escorted by staff into the Flower Building, where they were thrilled to discover they had won First Prize in their division for the construction of a “cowardly lion.”
“We won!” they exclaimed, seeming both delighted and surprised.
Out at Dynamite Kettle Corn, owner Teddy Archer finished popping up his first of many batches of the sugary delight. Archer, a Ukiah native started working in the catering business with Five-Star Catering back in 2002. In 2010, he bought the equipment for making kettle corn and took it to the Dixon County Fair without even a trial run. He never looked back.
The father of three sons is on the road almost continuously from May to September.
“I just got back from Oregon and I’ll be headed to Humboldt County after we’re done here,” he notes, adding that the Original Kettle Corn flavor is still his top seller, followed by Caramel and Cheddar. He’s also purchased a pizza and funnel cake truck and will soon be adding cinnamon rolls to his repertoire.
“Once you start, you pretty much get sucked in,” he smiles.
In Carl Purdy Hall, Brad’s World of Reptiles is filling a third of the exhibit area. It’s been a few years since they’ve been at the Fair, and they’re delighted to be back, notes Olivia, lead exhibitor and animal keeper.
She and her co-worker Manuel have been setting up for several days. They arrived from another fair in Oregon and met the animals here. They were transported from Corvallis, Oregon, the home of the organization.
Fifty animals are on display at the Fair, including a number of snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles and insects, as well as a place to sit and view videos about the animals.
“We’re an animal sanctuary,” Olivia explains. “Our main focus is on education and conservation,” adding that every single animal exhibited at the fair is a rescue animal. “Not a lot of rescue agencies take in exotics, and owners of animals like snakes don’t often realize they can live as long as a dog,” she continues.
Additionally, she notes, some states don’t allow ownership of these animals, and if they do, not every landlord or apartment complex allows pets like exotic reptiles. “We like to serve these underrepresented animals- some of which you would not see in most zoos,” she explains. Take Ally, the alligator. “She is 35 years old and we’ve had her for 30 years,” says Olivia. “It’s not unusual for them to live to 80 in captivity.” Ally seems perfectly fine with her life at the Fair. After a soak in her pool, Olivia let her out for a walk on the concrete flooring. After that, Ally took her spot on her special display area. “She lets us know exactly what she wants,” says Olivia. “If she’s hungry, or tired, she tells us. They are incredibly intelligent animals.”
Brad’s World will be open during the same hours as Carl Purdy Hall.
Children under 5 are always admitted to the Fair for free. Grandstand shows are included with fair admission. The Redwood Empire Fair opens at 3:00 on Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. For more information phone (707) 462-3884, visit the Redwood Empire Fair’s Facebook page or https://www.redwoodempirefair.com/summer-fair.