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Santa Cruz County Fair at a glance: What to expect from this year’s festivities

Presented by Santa Cruz County Fair
Inside the Bug Barn at the Santa Cruz County Fair
(Santa Cruz County Fair)

If you were to ask, “What can I expect at the Santa Cruz County Fair?”, the simplest answer would be: “Fun!” But let’s surf that wave of fun and see where it takes us. Dive? Surf? Wave? You might think you’re at the beach; even better, you’re at a County Fair with Ocean Air!

When you arrive at The Fairgrounds, you’ll breathe in that cool ocean air (with a hint of BBQ and cinnamon rolls) and become instantly relaxed, like you’re on a mini vacation.

If you truly want to embrace a slower pace, head directly to the Ball Park and Pacific Animal Productions. That’s where you’ll meet one of The Fair’s newest attractions: Paco, the sloth. Paco is not in the rat race. He’s a chill dude. Watching his graceful and deliberate movements is akin to meditating. Plus, he’s cute as a button. Paco and his animal pals are a rare sight to behold— it’s a once in a lifetime chance to see them up close.

The exotic animals are unique, but our livestock are the heart and soul of The Fair. Local students devote themselves to raising a pig, goat, cow, sheep or chicken, and all their hard work culminates at The Fair. Check the schedule for exciting and inspirational livestock shows and auction times.

Jack Spareribs
Don’t miss the seven time Award winning Professional pirate, Jack Spareribs at the Santa Cruz County Fair.

Entertainment abounds at The Fair. Younger fairgoers will want front row seats at the Tankhouse Stage when it’s “Twinkle Time.” The New York Times describes the Peruvian American star of the show as “Lady Gaga for kids!” Enough said.

The Fair also features a pirate! Kids (and parents) will be clutching their sides at the Captain Jack Spareribs Pirate Magic and Comedy Show. Just look for the pirate ship at the Playhouse Stage. Captain Spareribs is a hoot and he’s never made anyone walk the plank… yet.

  • General
    Santa Cruz County Fair 2022
    Enjoy fun for the whole family at the Santa Cruz County Fair, from September 14 - 18, off Highway 152 in Watsonville, CA. Tickets are available for purchase now.
    Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 12:00 PM

michael mezmer county fair
Michael Mezmer performs DangerMagik at the Santa Cruz County Fair.
(Via Santa Cruz County Fair )

There’s magic—and then there’s DangerMagik. Michael Mezmer is “The Phenomenist.” He’s performed his astounding and truly unbelievable DangerMagik in front of millions of people around the world. It’s a one-of-a-kind show involving razor blades, animal traps, arrows and steel chains. Michael Mezmer is also a master hypnotist. He does a second show called, “Trance-nosis.” Volunteers are needed for this silly and surprising show. Skeptics will become believers. Michael Mezmer will be waiting for you at the Tankhouse Stage.

There is so much to do every day at The Fair. You can enjoy live concerts, from country and Banda, to mouth-watering treats, from corndogs to cotton candy. Check out a singing cowboy on horseback, a midway full of carnival rides and games, as well as our infamous Insect Barn. Fine Art, Photography, LEGOS, giant pumpkins, horticulture, agriculture, a Tractor Parade, clown college and more await you at this year’s County Fair!

Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
(Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds)

But if you find yourself at the Santa Cruz County Fair on Saturday afternoon, you’re in for a one-time-only special event. Make your way to Paddy Smith Park at 1:00 pm for the world-famous Diaper Derby! Babies will crawl to victory in the slowest two minutes in sports. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (the babies might cry) and one tiny tot will take home a trophy. Do you have a baby of your own? You can enter them in The Derby, here in advance or right on the spot.

If the Diaper Derby leaves your heart racing, mosey back over to Pacific Animal Productions. Paco the sloth will be waiting with open arms. His calming presence will remind you— Dude, you’re at The County Fair with Ocean Air.

2022 Fair: At a Glance

WHEN: September 14 - 18, 2022

  • Wednesday through Friday - Noon to 11:00 PM
  • Saturday - 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday - 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM


  • ADULTS (Ages 13 to 61): $20.00
  • CHILDREN (Ages 6 to 12): $10.00 (Free on Kid’s Day, 9/14 only)
  • CHILDREN 5 & UNDER: Free
  • SENIORS (Ages 62 and better): $13.00 ($12.00 at the gate on Wednesday, 9/14 only)
  • ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY: Free with ID, all days
  • ALL VETERANS: Free on opening day, Wednesday, 9/14 only


  • MAIN LOT: $10.00
  • VALET: $30.00


WED 9/14Monster Trucks and Motocross | $10 for Adults 13+ / $5 for Children 6-12 | 7:30 PM - Race Track | T-Mob Presenting Sponsor
Gary Blackburn Band | 7:30 PM – Amphitheater Stage
THU 9/15Monster Trucks and Motocross | $10 for Adults 13+ / $5 for Children 6-12 | 7:30 PM - Race Track | T-Mob Presenting Sponsor
The County Cougars | 7:30 PM – Amphitheater Stage
FRI 9/16Journey Unauthorized | 7:30 PM – Amphitheater Stage
SAT 9/17Heartless (Heart Tribute) | 7:30 PM – Amphitheater Stage
SUN 9/18Salinas Valley Charros and Escaramusa Charra PLUS Los Reyes De La Banda | 4:00 PM - Main Horse Arena
Sonora Dinamitra | 7:00 PM – Amphitheater Stage