Paso Robles’ biggest event of the year offers something for everyone

This year’s theme of “Let’s Have S’more Fun!” at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles Event Center promises a good time for all from July 17 to 28. Mid-State Fair staff and faithful community volunteers are working hard to make the fair this summer’s go-to destination for families and friends.

Pancake Breakfast

The fair wouldn’t be the same without the Annual Pancake Breakfast in City Park on Thursday, July 26 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Get your grub on and enjoy pancakes sponsored by chef Chester Rougeot, the El Paso de Robles Grange #555, and other local organizations. Enjoy entertainment by Pacific Animal Productions and rides through the park on Cowboy Ken’s train or Harris Stage Lines. The best part? All the pancakes are free!

Kids’ Day and Senior Day

On Kids’ Day, Monday, July 22, children age 12 and under are admitted to the fair for free. On Tuesday, July 23, visitors age 62 and older pay just $9.

Carnival rides

In 2017, Helms and Sons Amusements became the official carnival provider to Mid-State Fair by offering improved quality and lower ride prices. Last year, the fair brought in more than $1.2 million in revenue from ticket presales and door admissions.


For 2019, onsite purchases of single-ride tickets cost 50 cents apiece, $25 for a sheet of 50 tickets, and $50 for a sheet of 100 tickets. Unlimited Ride wristbands are also available for $40 (each day). For fast entry into the fair, WOWXpress wristbands ($15) are available only at the Carnival Ticket Booths and enable guests to bypass crowds via special entrances on every ride.

FREE Carnival rides

For the first time in Mid-State Fair history, the main carnival rides are free for all fair-goers with paid fair admission on opening day, Sunday July 17! Some conditions apply. 

Zoo animal fun

Admission to the Petting Zoo is free and feed for the animals is just $1 a cup. Bring the children (or yourselves!) to see adorable, small animals at the fair, including llamas, pygmy goats, pot-bellied pigs, miniature donkeys, deer, wallabies, and domesticated goats and sheep.

Zoo to You will provide an interactive display in a swampland complete with alligators and a beaver exhibit where visitors can watch a beaver building its lodge. Open daily from 12-4 p.m., the shows include grey and red foxes, the North American porcupine, raptors, monkeys, and lemurs.

Pony Rides

Every day during the fair, pony rides will be available for children in the Rancho Frontier pony ring for just $7 per ride and an additional $10 for a photo souvenir.

Kids Art Smart program

Open to children of all ages, the Kids Art Smart program by Studios on the Park brings hands-on art fun to visitors through daily printmaking sessions in the Pop-Up Studios at the fair. Go to for info. 

Live entertainment

Since 1969, the demand for live entertainment has grown at the California Mid-State Fair, and 2019 opened with a bang. Tickets for Blake Shelton and Pryor Baird, “The Voice” finalist contestant from Orcutt, sold out quickly, and headliner Cardi B’s concert sold out within hours. 

The Bud Light Concert Series lineup in the Chumash Grandstand Arena includes:

July 17 • Miranda Lambert

July 18 • Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo with Melissa Etheridge

July 19 • Billy Idol

July 20 • Cardi B

July 21 • Blake Shelton

July 22 • Why Don’t We

July 23 • Lynyrd Skynyrd

July 24 • Zac Brown Band

July 25 • Old Dominion

July 26 • Music & Wine with Smokey Robinson

July 27 • Country Rodeo Finals

July 28 • Monster Trucks with Bikes & Bulls

CMSF Barn Dance

Just outside the Headliner Stage, radio station 98.1 KJUG will host dancing for the public from 9 p.m. until closing.  

Public Contests

One of the most satisfying ways to enjoy the fair is through the many contests available to the public to showcase everything from artistic ability to fashion design to culinary talents. Mark your calendars for the pre-entry deadline on Tuesday, July 16, and fill out your application from 

The contests are separated into age divisions for adults (18 and over) and youths (17 and younger). 

Categories include:

July 19 • Direct to Draw (the “director” tells the “drawer” what to draw

July 21 • Locally Grown Salsa

July 23 • Pet Costume Contest

July 25 • Apple Pie Contest

July 18 • Summer Camp obstacle course fun

July 20 • Cupcake Challenge decorating contest

July 22 • “Face the Marshmallow” children’s game

July 24 • Junior Fashion Show

July 26 • Nail Drive

July 28 • Watermelon Easting Contest.

Monster Trucks with Bikes & Bulls 

This year’s fair is guarantees thrilling, non-stop action in the Chumash Main Grandstand Arena on Sunday, July 28, when Monster Trucks with Bikes & Bulls begins at 7 p.m. StraightUp Racing will unleash three beasts inside the arena. They include: the legendary Titan, with a ’72 Chevy body style driven by Donald Ependindio. Next is Spitfire, with a custom 3-D Dragon body that shoots fire driven by Dwight Matthews. And third is Wild Flower, with a ’34 Ford truck body style driven by Rosalee Ramer.

Fans will have a chance to walk into the arena and get up close to the Major Payne Monster Tank and the Zombie Tracker Monster Ride Truck. And everyone will be treated to motocross by Brett Butterfield, featuring Pee Wee & Pros and professional bull-riding by Flying U Rodeo Company.