Napa Valley Expo shifts focus to revamped Town & Country Fair
The Napa Town & Country Fair is gearing up for a July 16 start -- a month earlier than usual. This photo was taken in August 2008.
By Janelle Wetzstein
With the crush of BottleRock 2014 firmly behind the Napa Valley Expo, the board has turned its attention to this year’s Town & Country Fair.
“We’re just getting started with (the advertising) and it’s going really well,” Expo CEO Joe Anderson said last week. “I think we have a good plan in place to really market the fair and get some exposure.”
While this year’s fair will feature a host of changes — including a new carnival, new attractions and a new bull-riding competition — the two most noticeable differences will be the July start date and the cancellation of its long-running Sunday parade.
Last year, the fair board decided to change Town & Country’s start date from August to a month earlier, in an effort to reduce competition with the nearby Sonoma County Fair that also runs in August.
Moving the fair cut one month off the livestock raising season, giving participants in the fair’s Junior Livestock Auction one month less to get their animals up to target weights that fetch top dollar at auction. But Anderson said last week that those fears have been put to rest by the committee, whose members say their animals are ready for the earlier auction.
Slated to start July 16, the Expo’s 2014 fair will now occur just 12 days after the city hosts a much larger Fourth of July parade.
“Because of the dates and the fair now being so close to the Fourth of July, we didn’t want to take anything away from that parade,” said Anderson. “We are going to put a unit in the Fourth of July parade that advertises the fair instead. That way, we don’t have to close the same downtown route a week and a half later.”
A significant addition to this year’s festivities will be a bull-riding competition. The event will be produced by a rodeo company called the Thrill from Morgan Hill and will take place Friday, July 18.
“There will be a $5,000 purse for the winner and several other smaller prizes as well,” said Anderson. “We are also doing a small, local competition for the kids called Mutton Busting, which will be kids riding sheep. It will be a lot of fun.”
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