Gates open next Thursday for Mother Lode Fair

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The 75th annual Mother Lode Fair will take place Thursday through Sunday, July 12 to 15, at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora.

Carnival, destruction derby, home arts, agricultural displays, livestock auctions, live entertainment and more will be featured.

Musical performers will include Patrice Pike, Chains Required, the Joe Craven Trio, Lost Weekend and more.

Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday, 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 1 to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Admission and other fees remain the same as last year. Admission is $8 per person for ages 13 to 61, $6 per person 62 or older and $4 per child 6 to 12. Children 5 and younger are admitted for free.

Thursday is customer appreciation day, and admission fees are half price: $4 per person 13 to 61, $3 per adult 62 or older and $2 per child 6 to 12.

An extra $5 per person will be charged for shows in the grandstands arena Friday through Sunday.These include four-wheel-drive truck pulls Friday and Saturday and the destruction derby on Sunday.

Thursday's motocross race in the arena is included in the fair admission price.

Carnival ride tickets are $1, and each ride takes between three and five tickets. A sheet of 24 individual tickets is $20. Coupons for wristbands entitling the wearer to one day of unlimited rides cost $20 each if purchased at the fairgrounds office by July 11 and $25 each at the fair. Coupons must be redeemed for wristbands at a carnival ticket booth.

There will be a wide assortment of free entertainment offered daily at various locations throughout the fairgrounds. Among them are nationally renowned performers Joe Craven and Patrice Pike and local bands such as Chains Required, Swing Gitane, Mighty Coyote, Dye Musica, Rockin' Rick and the Rhythm Wranglers, Uplands Drive Band and Lost Weekend.

The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit from Oakdale and Mario Flores from Modesto also will perform, and a singer-songwriter showcase will be featured on Saturday and Sunday.

Other entertainment will include the Fido 500 miniature dog races, Jumob Shrimp Circus, Lil' Farmer Tractor Races, stilt walker, juggler, miniature donkey, pony rides, soap box derby, balloon man, 4-H and FFA livestock auctions and more.

The junior livestock auction of cows, pigs and sheep will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The small livestock auction of rabbits, goats, turkeys and chickens will begin at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.The Bob Miller Memorial Small LivestockBarbecue will follow Sunday's auction at 4:30 p.m. After fair admission, barbecue prices are $8 for adults 12 and up, $5 for children 11 and under, 5 and under are free.

Parking is very limited at the fairgrounds, but free shuttle buses will run continuously between the fairgrounds at 220 Southgate Drive in Sonora, the Wal-Mart parking lot on Sanguinetti Road and Courthouse Square on North Washington Street in downtown Sonora.

Black Oak Casino will offer the free transportation service from a half-hour before the fair opens each day until a half-hour after it closes.

For more information, call 532-7428 or visit

The Union Democrat
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