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'A country fair with ocean air': All generations return to Ventura County Fair

Ventura County Fair has returned after being postponed for two years
Caroline Feraday
Ventura County Fair has returned after being postponed for two years

It was last held in 2019, but the Ventura County Fair is back – and seems more popular than ever.

The sounds, sights and screams of the Ventura County Fair have been on hold for two years during the pandemic. But for those flocking to the fair on opening day, it’s a very welcome return.

For some of the younger visitors, it’s their first time, but for many – like Lucia Avila - it’s a tradition started when she was a child and now one that she can enjoy with her own children.

"I was born and raised in Ventura so this is an annual thing, so now I do it with my own kids. We missed out on the last years so it's exciting to come back. I come every year and have never missed it.

While many enjoy the fairground rides and rollercoasters, there’s also more traditional aspects of the country fair.

"It's a country fair with ocean air, and it means something different to every person in the county," the Fairground’s Marketing Director James Lockwood said.

"It's the 147th year of the Ventura County Fair and we are so glad we made it back," he said.

Lockwood told KCLU, "The number 1 attraction is debatable but some are the livestock auction...the average person that's never participated in an old fashioned livestock auction can come in a buy an animal.

"A lot of the people love the exhibits. Thousands of people from the county spend - in this case 3 years -but usually a year, creating quilts, making cakes and doing family recipes, making paintings, art work, arts and crafts to enter at the fair and hopefully win the coveted blue ribbon.

"But even if they don't [win], just to bring your family in and see your piece on moves you in ways that are indescribable."

Many of those soaking up the atmosphere on the first day have all generations with them.

"I'm been here since I was little, it's my first time back in a couple of years. I've brought my son, my daughter, my nephews and my in-laws," one visitor told KCLU.

There are also shows from famous bands like KC and the Sunshine Band, and the Beach Boys.

The fair runs through August 14 at Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.