Desert Empire Fair opens Thursday

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Desert Empire Fair opens ThursdayAre you ready for the Desert Empire Fair?

“We’re really excited about it,” said Mike Leming, the fair’s CEO. “We’ll have lots of new food vendors, including types of food that will be new. Just about all the outside vendor spaces are filled, and Mesquite Hall is totally full of vendors. The Junior Livestock Auction is bigger than last year.”

Time to start planning to attend the Desert Empire Fair, which will take place Oct. 17-20. The theme this year is “From Wagon Wheels … to Ferris Wheels.”

Pre-sale wristbands for all rides plus admission are now available in Ridgecrest at Indian Wells Drive-Thru Dairy, Red Rock Books, Albertson’s on North Norma Street, the DEF office and Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union. In Inyokern wristbands are available at Gateway Hardware and at Country Feed Barn.

The bargain pre-sale price is $20; at the fair, the price will be $25.

On Oct. 17, Thursday, senior citizens (age 65+) get in free. On Friday, Oct. 18, kids 12 and younger get in free from 4 p.m. to midnight.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 20, from noon to 3 p.m. you can get in free with a donation of a canned food item for our local food pantry. The fair will be open Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

Other attractions include Alaskan racing pigs, the Bubble Show, Puppets and Players, Theater 16 and Ridgecrest Coyote Dance.

Special contests include the Adult Exhibitor of the Year competition, Challenge Quilts, Scrapbooking demonstrations, pumpkin pies, Bling Things, a Small Image contest, a decorated pumpkin contest for all ages on Friday, a Legos competition and a Salsa Contest on Sunday.

Voting for Viewers’ Choice at the photography exhibit, as well as for all entries on display, will take place throughout the fair.

Ticket prices to enter the fair are adults for $6, seniors and active military for $3 and children ages five to 12 for $2. Younger than five get in free.

Among the attractions will be McKenna Faith, country music singer and songwriter from Ukiah, Calif. She grew up in the rodeo circuit, where she traveled to the World Barrel Racing finals. She gave up barrel racing to focus on her singing career and has recorded an album of original songs, “Sugar & Spice.”

On Sunday, there will be a Gospel Music Fest beginning at 1 p.m. “Death Valley Dave” will appear at 4 p.m., with the popular “Cross Currents” playing at 6 p.m.

There will be a rodeo clown, lots of still exhibits and a large Ridgecrest 50th Anniversary Tribute with historic photos. Local cheerleading groups will perform, and the Society for Creative Anachronism will be on hand.

The midway will be packed with rides, including the 67-foot-high Century Wheel, the Ring of Fire, the Zipper, Flying Bobs, Gravitron, Footloose, Tilt-A-Whirl, Mardi Gras, Scrambler, Crown Merry-Go-Round, Dizzy Dragon, Balloon Samba, Lolli Swing, First Squadron and Quad Runner.

New for this year is the Bull Riding Extravaganza, featuring team roping, bull riding, barrel racing, junior barrel racing (age 14 and under), calf dressing and mutton busting. This event will be held twice, Oct. 18 and 19, at 6 p.m. each day. Tickets for this event are available at Red Rock Books, DEF or online at Ticket price for this event only is adults $10 for one day, and $15 for both days. Ages 12 and younger are free. Adult ticket prices include admission to the fair as well as admission to Xtreme Bronco Riding Championships. Call Tony Cain 760-378-3408 or Skylar McCullar 760-793-0276 for event signups.

For more information about attractions at the fair, see

One welcome infrastructue change is a brand-new privacy fence in front of the RV Park. “It looks good,” said Leming. “People will notice it as they drive up.”

Story First Published: 2013-10-16