Gold Country Fair offers four days of family fun

Opening day is Sept. 6
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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If visions of the Destruction Derby, carnival rides, livestock exhibits and funnel cakes are dancing through your head, worry not – it’s completely normal this time of year.

The Gold Country Fair returns to Auburn Sept. 6-9, welcoming all to partake in a community tradition of old-fashioned fun. This year’s fair is full of time-tested favorites, such as the Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday, metal-crunching Destruction Derby Sunday and four days of carnival games and animals. Laurie Johnson, fair CEO, said fairgoers have plenty of new attractions to look forward to this year, as well.

The fair officially opens at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6. An opening ceremony is set for 5:30 p.m., and the Auburn Fair Boosters, celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, stage a parade at 6 p.m. That evening, step back in time with Paperback Writer, a Beatles tribute band, and The Chris Gardner Band playing popular country music.

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway racing and the Gold Country Fair have teamed up again to offer an evening of high-octane fun as racers zip around the speedway on bikes that have no brakes: “They either crash or they coast to a stop,” explained Dave Joiner, Fast Fridays owner.

Friday’s event is the Fast Fridays Track Championship, pitting the 16 best riders from the season against each other. The $15 admission to Friday’s races (which start at 8 p.m.) includes entry to the fair. If you’ve already paid your fair entry ($5 all day Friday), pay another $10 and come check out the last scheduled Fast Fridays event of the season, and the return of the Extreme Sidecars Series.

“These guys are wild,” Joiner said of the sidecar racers, who come to Auburn from Southern California to compete. “They race these 1,000-cc engines that have a little platform on the side, so two guys actually have to ride these things to control them. One guy operates the throttle and the handlebars, and the other guy kind of leans over to keep them from tipping over.”


Cruising and racing at the fair

Saturday will see a new event at the Gold Country Fair: Family Fun Day in McCann Stadium.

“We thought, ‘Let’s do something special for the community, because the community does so much for us,’” Johnson said.

Family Fun Day begins with a selection of Auburn Cruise Nite classic cars rolling into the stadium at 11 a.m. At least 20 cars will be displayed until 3 p.m., Cruise Nite organizer Bob Kennedy said.

“They’re having a display area set up for us, and we’ll have some information handouts representing Cruise Nite,” Kennedy said.

The day includes local bands and family games in the stadium. Admission is free with your fair ticket.

Saturday will also see the Federation of International Motorcyclists Flat Track American Cup Round 3, following the first rounds in Prague and Italy. FIM is the sanctioning body for motorcycle racing and world championship events. While these motorcycles do have brakes, Joiner said, that doesn’t make it any less exciting.

Seven foreign riders will compete, along with seven or eight American riders. Check out a practice race at 4 p.m., and the official racing at 7 p.m. – at no extra charge beyond fair admission.

“Can you imagine this exciting event, and you don’t have to pay any extra money to get into it?” Joiner enthused.

In addition to these events, the fair offers a packed schedule of entertainment and exhibits. Musical highlights are a Friday night performance by cover band Journey Unauthorized and nerdy rockers the Spazmatics, a Saturday concert with rockabilly legend and Auburn resident Al Hendrix and the Sunday Country Music Takeover in Gold Country Court featuring Erin McKinney, Whiskey Dawn and Jackson Michelson.


A smashing favorite

On Sunday, the Destruction Derby roars to life at 5 p.m., when nearly 3,500 spectators will gather to watch 20-25 cars crunch and crash into each other.

The derby, produced by Holland Racing Promotions, awards the most aggressive drivers who do the most damage to their opponents’ vehicles. The winner of the main event takes home $3,000, with other cash prizes for second, third and fourth places.

New this year is a truck class with an additional $1,000 purse.

Cost to attend the Destruction Derby is $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-12, not including fair admission. For entry information, call (707) 485-8687 or email


Family favorites

Offered throughout the fair, Kids World provides a place especially for children, with free pony rides, Circus Imagination and contests for kids.

Agro-business exhibits in the Placer Building celebrate Auburn’s agricultural heritage. Hypnotist Susan Rosen gives demonstrations throughout the fair, and keep an eye out for Lanky the Clown and Skip Banks the Balloon Man walking around the grounds. Enjoy a corn dog or turkey leg, or visit with local churches and nonprofits at their informational and food booths.

Lana Maeder, of Meadow Vista, shows the talents of her Busy Bee Dogs at 4:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The five rescue dogs have been trained to do all sorts of fun tricks to entertain the masses.

The dogs, Maeder said, “basically dazzle crowds with their heartwarming entertainment. They do all sorts of tricks and stunts – they jump rope, they drag race cars, they do Frisbee tricks.”

Maeder said she particularly enjoys the Gold Country Fair because of its warm, welcoming atmosphere and variety of activities.

“The local fair is definitely more fun,” said Maeder, who travels with her dogs to many fairs and events. “You feel like, ‘Yay! We’re in front of our hometown crowd.”

“The Gold County Fair is safe, friendly, fun,” she added. “It’s got things for all ages – it’s just fun.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.



Gold Country Fair


Thursday, Sept. 6: 4-11 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 7: 4 p.m. to midnight

Saturday, Sept. 8: 11 a.m. to midnight

Sunday, Sept. 9: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.



Adult admission (13 years and over): $10

Senior citizens (62 and over): $8

Children (12 and under): Free

Military, law enforcement, firefighters in uniform: Free

Livestock exhibitor passes: $20 (four days)

Booster passes: $20 (four days)

Parking: $5 per car daily, Sacramento Street parking lot (no overnight parking)


Info: (530) 823-4533

• All admission $5 on Friday (12 and under free).

• Free admission between 11 a.m. and noon Saturday and Sunday to those who bring two nonperishable food items for the Interfaith Food Closet.