The 99th San Benito County Fair is in the books, after crowds spent the weekend enjoying rides, kids’ activities, live musical and cultural performances, plenty of food and a celebration of the county’s agricultural heritage.
As always, one of the fair’s highlights this year—especially for local students—was the Oct. 1 Junior Livestock Auction at the Bolado Park fairgrounds in Tres Pinos. More than 260 animals, raised by high school FFA students, were auctioned off. Bids on all the rabbits, cows, pigs, poultry and more raised more than $1 million, according to fair organizers.
The auction culminated with Bob, the Heritage Hog, who brought home the bacon with a winning bid of $314 a pound, or a total of $82,000. The sum will be donated to the Heritage Foundation, which supports future projects and upgrades at the fairgrounds, according to fair staff.
Bob was raised by 18-year-old Christine Gastello, of the Cienega 4-H club. Gastello earned a $1,000 scholarship. She plans to attend college next year and wants to be a nurse.
“I really love the auction and the fair. Saying goodbye to Bob… it’s a little bit of sadness but a lot of excitement,” Gastello said. “And, I think caring for animals has prepared me for caring for people as a nurse.”
The Oct. 1-2 fair was not short on all varieties of entertainment—including an antique and classic car show, Luke Bryan tribute band, truck and tractor pull, a performance by Yamamoto Hula Ohana dancers and a beer stroll.
On Sunday, the fair hosted a Quilts of Honor ceremony as a show of gratitude for local residents who served in the armed forces. The Pinnacles Quilters of San Benito County made 24 quilts, which they donated to the same number of veteran recipients.
San Benito County Fair Manager Dara Tobias said this year’s fair drew about as many people as the 2021 event, though the final numbers won’t be calculated for a couple weeks.
“We brought back a lot of our kids’ activities that we weren’t able to do last year,” Tobias said. “I think it was a success.”
She added her thanks “to the community for supporting such a great event.”
For next year’s 100th County Fair, Tobias is hoping to soon create a committee of volunteers to help make the centennial event an even bigger and better attraction.