The chance to learn more about Oink, the Professional Singing
Pig, got me thinking I’d better check out this year’s Sonoma County
Fair, which starts next Tuesday (July 28) and runs for two
 Oink’s real name is Kiara and she stars in the Pork
Chop Revue
, a new attraction among many at this year’s
Fair, whose theme is “The Fair Before Time.”
Oink’s repertoire includes “Old McDonald” and she is apparently
a huge star. “She won the Pet Star competition on Animal Planet in
2003,” said Fair spokesperson Marlina Harrison.
“These are the most talented performing hogs you’ll ever meet,”
said Harrison, and I know she’s right because I’ve never met a
singing hog. Or should I say I’ve never met a singing pig I didn’t
The free Pork Chop Revue plays daily at various times in the
Fair’s livestock area and includes performances by Oink; Chester;
Ricco; Susie, a pot-bellied pig; and Ruby, a Russian Boar.
Kids in the audience may get to sing along with Oink and the
Revue led by Cuzin’ Grumpy (AKA Les Kimes) whose father, Boyd
Kimes, started the Pork Chop Revue in the 1950s. Now Kimes and his
two sons, Logan and Morgan, take the revue on the road from their
home in Branson, Missouri where they train their pigs from infancy,
bottle-feed them and give them lots of praise.
“Pigs are smart,” says Kimes, “but some are  smarter than
others. Just like people.”
 “The Fair Before Time” theme means dinosaurs will take over the
Fair this year with more than three dozen life-size dinosaur
replicas on display— some in the hall of flowers and some
throughout the grounds.
Fair highlights this year include:
The Garden Time Forgot – The Fair’s flower
show,  the largest themed flower show in the U.S., presents a
prehistoric paradise of lush plants, waterfalls and even a swamp
with its own lost island. Each garden will feature a life-sized
Dinosaur Island – A place to explore the
primeval past, dig for dinosaur “bones,” brave the Lost World
Obstacle Course, and build your own volcano.
Fido 500 Mini Dog Races – A whole pack of cute
little dogs racing for  snacks will compete in the Big Race of Tiny
Champions each day. After the show, you’ll get to meet the stars in
the Puppy Party Play Pen.
Milk Question Contest –  Fairgoers are invited
to guess how much milk is produced by the cows milked in the Sonoma
County Fair Milk Barn.  Luckily, you won’t have to make just a wild
guess because local dairy farmers will be on hand to help you make
your calculation. 
Bull Riding – The biggest bulls and the best
bull riders in the West will meet up at the Fair on Saturday,
August 1 in the Chris Beck Arena. The PRCA Rodeo will take place
the previous evening on Friday, July 31.
Youth Crafters Workshops – On eight different
days fairgoers can sign up to participate in the new Youth Crafter
Workshops at 2 p.m. in Finley Hall. Create a work of art right
there at the Fair.
Clydesdales Return to the Fair – The Budweiser
Clydesdale horses return to the Fair this year. These beautifully
groomed and trained Clydesdales will be on display beginning
Thursday, July 30 in the livestock area, and will provide
performances at various times throughout the Fair.
  Some of us like to eat our way through the county fair, where
the scent of grilled sausages, garlic fries, popcorn and hot dogs
always tantalizes fairgoers near the picnic area outside Grace
This year’s fair offers an awesome array of snacks, from apple
pie to vegetarian sandwiches, hearty meals, and, “admittedly, some
guilt-producing goodies,”  said Harrison. “We have more choices and
some surprising low prices this year.”
Which means that after taking in the Pork Chop Revue, you’ll
want to visit Bubba’s Barbecue for some pulled pork before heading
over to the race track for a cold beer and a corn dog.
This year’s Sonoma County Fair will be held July 28 through
August 9 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Discount admission and
carnival tickets are now on sale, as are show tickets and seats for
the Rodeo, the Bull Riding show, the Mexican Rodeo, the Tractor
Pull, and the Destruction Derby. Tickets and complete details are
available at or
at the Sonoma County Fair Office, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa
Rosa, (707) 545-4200.

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