By SCOTT PESZNECKER
Since first attending in the 1940s, Tony Nunes of Mountain Ranch has never missed a Calaveras County Fair.
Now the fair, which officially began at 8 this morning, is also a tradition for his granddaughters: Sarah Fischer, 18, is showing beef and hogs. Her 14-year-old sister, RoseAnn, is also showing hogs.
"For me and my family, this is a working experience," said Sarah, accompanied by her mother and grandmother. "It's fun for us, but what other people consider fun, we don't."
Said Nunes of the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee: "It's for the kids. It keeps families working together and that's what makes a family."
Of course, there's more there than livestock.
There are carnival rides, a Saturday night concert with country star Darryl Worley, tonight's 8 p.m. Miss Calaveras Pageant and thousands of craft and food exhibits.
However, when fairgrounds gates opened this morning, it was all about the animals.
The barns were bustling, while the rest of the fairgrounds were fairly barren.
Angels Camp resident Ashly Sage, 21, was eager to watch the morning pig show. "I have been to other fairs," she said. "This one, it's nice because you know everyone here and the weather is nice most of the time."
Toni Ann Fischer Sarah and RoseAnn's mother is glad the fair is under way. "It's an important part of the agricultural industry and we need to keep it alive for California and for our country. It's a dwindling industry."
Fairgrounds staff continued to prepare the grounds through yesterday.
Livestock arrived in droves during the afternoon. In the morning, vendors set up their booths and carnival employees readied their rides.
Fairgrounds Manager Buck King said it was all "typical fair" business.