The Biggest Little Fair

The cows are coming home?

Cows coming home - Paso Robles

One of the more unique fairs starts this time of year in what is currently called the number one wine region in the world: Paso Robles. The California Mid State Fair is a 12 day annual affair every summer and is known as the ‘The Biggest Little Fair Anywhere!’

The plucky little celebration of fun is held at the Paso Robles Event Center, which is used year-round for all kinds of shows, concerts, business events and many other gatherings. However, the Mid State Fair is by far the largest gathering the Event Center will entertain. Not exactly the largest fair size-wise, this extravaganza in Paso Robles packs quite a wallop and is probably pound-for-pound the best festival you will ever enjoy. In fact, attendance at this fair ranks it in the Top 50 for North America.

The fair starts on a Wednesday with the morning Cattle Drive (when not mysteriously cancelled) where several dozen heads of cattle are taken down Union and 13th to Riverside and then inside the fairgrounds. That’s when this small but smoking hot fair gets going.

Heats up


There’s the typical¬†carnival rides and animal exhibits including equestrian shows, but the biggest deal this event has is entertainment. Huge marques and performances happen all over the fair during the 12 days including the largest names that the entertainment world can muster performing at the Chumash Arena each evening.

There’s also every type of food imaginable and along with talent shows, the place is buzzing with action. Of course, there’s wine tasting and wine contests plus enough drink concessions to wet anyone’s particular whistle.

Parking is somewhat at a premium unless you come early but the city has a free shuttle service available during the fair. Click here for more.


If you haven’t ever seen mutton-busting, you have to check it out. Nothing like seeing a small child terrified as they hold on for dear life on top of a romping sheep. It goes on all afternoon each day as parent after parent signs their child’s life away to entertain the folks. My nephew did it a few years ago and although he didn’t win, it was hilarious to watch.

The town of Paso Robles is about 30,000 but balloons to more than twice that every summer as they entertain people from all over the world. The otherwise quaint city sits roughly halfway between Greater L.A. and the Bay Area, just 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Carnival rides - Mid State Fair

Be prepared for delays in traffic and also the blazing heat that can rise over 100 degrees – though usually the mornings and evenings are much cooler.

With all kinds of displays, exhibits, entertainment and rides, there’s something for everyone. The fair opens at 9:00 am and closes at Midnight all 12 days.

Now, when are those darn cows coming home …

Additional source: California Mid State Fair


Daryle W. Hier





1 thought on “The Biggest Little Fair


    What a shame that the cows didn’t come home this year?? Perplexing! But still, we’ll get over to the fairgrounds a couple different days, take in a show or two and check out the cows and sheep and rabbits, et al. There truly is a ‘food’ and ‘drink’ to suit everyone so will see what it might be this year for us – definitely a beer or two; plus, will see if we can find at least one glass of wine!! ha ha! Hope you all enjoy our wonderful ‘biggest little fair’ and come back again any time. This is a great little town to visit and even better to live in. Love it!
    Salootie Patootie!



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