Keeping it fresh

What’s new at the California State Fair this year

For the full California State Fair program, visit Ticket prices vary depending on activities.

The California State Fair returns July 12-28, and the 166th edition boasts an unprecedented number of goats. You’ll catch them dominating the petting zoo, and you’ll also find a number of new things to freshen up fair traditions:

Bear Cup ESports Tournament

There will still be thoroughbred horse races held every Thursday through Sunday at the Miller Lite Racetrack, but 2019 also includes a recently legitimized sport: video gaming. Inside Building 5 at Cal Expo, pro gamers will compete in Super Smash Bros., NBA2K, Overwatch, Apex Legends, League of Legends and Fortnite. A tournament between UC Davis, Sacramento State and two other college teams is intended for spectators, but you can get your hands on a controller by signing up for an amateur tournament at

Food festival pass and competition

Deep fried bananas, chocolate-covered bacon—for a $28 pass, you can increase your cholesterol through more than 30 vendors. And after scarfing down funnel cake pizza, you won’t be the only one deciding whether it was worth it. This year, 34 different items will be judged in a competition held on Saturday, July 13 on the Promenade Stage.

Incredible Me exhibit

Avengers: Endgame recently beat Titanic as the second-highest grossing movie of all time, with $2.2 billion at the box office globally. People love watching superheroes save the world, apparently, and now kids can become their own through an interactive exhibit. Build your own shield, create a name and persona and discover your superpowers through group exercises and games. Located in the play area between Building A and B every day.

Drone light show

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, State Fairs typically ended with a fireworks show at the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand. This year, there will be no fireworks. Instead, 75 to 80 drones will light up the sky and perform choreographed routines to pop music. Times are changing, but drone shows will always start at 10 p.m.

Canine races

Even with the brave new world of drones, some traditions never go away—including splash dog races and weiner dog relays, both big favorites each year. At the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand, canines will jump as far as they can into the water and short-legged dachshunds will sprint to the finish line. New this year: Dogs from the Front Street Animal Shelter will be available for adoption, and rescue dogs will show the other pups how it’s done.