Sun sets on 75th jump

May 18, 2003 11:00 pm

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

When Kathy Coons heard about the frog jumps while listening to the radio, the Modesto resident was curious enough to round up her family and drive to Calaveras County.

She sat in the stands yesterday, watching grown men, women and children pound the ground, shout, leap, blow and stomp in an effort to get their frogs to hop.

"Everyone talks about the frog jumps," Coons said. "I live in the area, so I thought I might as well see what they're talking about.

"I thought it was fun," she said.

Hundreds of people joined Coons to watch yesterday's frog jump finals, and even more came to watch the ensuing demolition derby, the final event of the 75th annual Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee.

Carnival rides and concession stands were open late yesterday, along with some vendors' booths and the exhibit halls.

But after the demolition derby ended, the bustling crowds began to thin.

"I enjoyed all of it, really," said Jenny Lind resident Amy Newby, who said she goes to the fair every year. "I liked the rides — they were great for the kids."

The fair's sun-soaked finale was a far cry from last year's soggy Sunday, when it rained most of the day.

Partly because of the weather, Fairgrounds Manager Buck King said he expects ticket sales for this year's fair to be much higher than last year. He said he'll know the totals later today.

The weather definitely made for some human-friendly frog jumping.

Alameda resident Lisa Fasano's family has been jumping frogs for 45 years. Although she's not from around here, she said she knows many people at the fair each year.

"I've come to know all the frog teams and the boosters," she said. "It's like a family reunion outside of the family I already have here."

Krystyna Singleton of Murphys said she'll remember this year's fair because she showed a pig for the first time. Her pig, which weighed 234 pounds, sold for $5.25 per pound — about a dollar more than the average price, she said.