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Mid-state mania

The Mid-state fair is a summer staple



New Times The Mid State Fair is an entertainment fair—what does that mean?


Tom Keffury, Director of Marketing We are very different than most fairs in that we spend a lot of money on top-quality, A-list entertainment and it has been a trademark of our fair going back three decades now. The first big name we booked was Buck Owens in 1969. We are one of the top fairs in all of the nation as far as putting on entertainment. The New York State Fair probably rivals us…Normally when you think of a fair you think of the cotton candy, corn dogs, the ventriloquists, the hypnotists, and that’s great, and we have those, however we also have a 15 thousand-seat arena. We bring in entertainers to little old Paso Robles, who normally would never come here.

New Times Aerosmith was amazing last year, and this year’s line up is incredible…how do you find the talent?

Keffury We have a booking agency, Jam USA, and they’re out of Chicago. They are one of the biggest in their business. They are able to get people like John Mayer, STP, and Fergie.

New Times How many people attend each year and who attends?

Keffury On average about 30,000 people a day, between 350,000 and 380,000 each year. Two out of three people come from SLO County or Northern Santa Barbara County. Ten percent come up from L.A..

New Times Advice for fair-goers?


Keffury Dress cool and bring a sweatshirt for the night. Come and have fun. We have all the traditional stuff, the demonstrations, the displays, the carnival, the 4-H, everything you would expect at a fair, and we also put on a pretty big concert every night, as well.

New Times How do you choose the musical acts? What are the variables that go into deciding who gets to perform?

Keffury We know historically that country performers will do well, and we know that rock performers will do pretty well. We start with country and rock as our backbone and from that point we try to get as diverse as we can to offer something for everybody. So you will see a pop act like Fergie…we have a lot of pop acts this year. We also have hard rock, like with Stone Temple Pilots. Some classic stuff with Steely Dan.

New Times So STP is back together and Scott Weiland will perform?

Keffury He is back and locked and loaded. Well, I hope he’s not loaded, actually. That would be bad for us.



The California Mid State Fair presents live music, rodeos, bull riding, farm animals, arts and crafts displays, carnival rides, monster trucks, winetasting, food, and much more. Here’s a line up of the live entertainment:


July 23: John Mayer. 7:30 p.m.

July 24: Toby Keith. 7:30 p.m.

July 24: Raul Malo. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

July 25: Steely Dan. 7:30 p.m.

July 26: Stone Temple Pilots with special guest

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. 7:30 p.m.

July 27: Alan Jackson. 7:30 p.m.

July 28: Matchbox Twenty with special guest

Vanessa Carlton. 7:30 p.m.

July 29: The Spinners. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

July 30: Rod Stewart with special guest Bryan Adams. 7:30 p.m.

July 31: Fergie. 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 1: Boz Scaggs (this event includes wine and more music with special guest David Jacobs-Strain). 7 p.m.

Aug. 2: Sawyer Brown and the Country Rodeo Finals. 7 p.m.

Aug. 3: Ozomatli. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

The fair takes place July 23 to Aug. 3, from noon to midnight at the Mid State Fairgrounds, 2198 Riverside Ave. in Paso Robles. Tickets start at $5 and wristbands for rides start at $20. Tickets for the live performances start at $17 and go up from there. Info and tickets: 1-800-909-FAIR or, or any Albertsons grocery store.



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