Tag Archives: California Mid State Fair

Cows Not Coming Home For Mid-State Fair

The cattle drive in Paso Robles is an annual event that kicks off the California Mid-State Fair. The Wednesday morning affair is well-known and brings out people – both visitors and locals – to watch the parade¬†each year in anticipation of the opening of the fair that day. However, this grand occasion won’t be happening in 2015. Cows won’t be coming home.

The yearly cattle drive see cowboys and cowgirls on their horses headed by a convoy of celebrants, which usually includes the Mid State Fair’s queen and her procession along with city leaders. The horses and cattle clip clop their way from Hwy 46 East and Golden Hill Rd down to Union Rd. They wind their way down Union to the 13th Street overpass and then turn right onto Riverside Avenue where they eventually head into the fairgrounds.

After at first having no statement on why the cancellation, the only explanation¬†given on the California Mid-State Fair’s website was due to “logistical reasons”.

Bygone era

The cattle drive hearkens back to a bygone era when Paso Robles and vicinity were as well known for almond orchards and cattle ranches as vineyards are now.

As a fan of the cattle drive having watched nearly everyone for almost a decade, the local gathering of neighbors down on Union Road will be missed by many. In fact, the neighborhood crowds had grown every year, from the first time I saw it until recently. This is disappointing to say the least.

Country fun

Even though we’re only five minutes from Downtown, like a old friend and neighbor used to say, it’s like country-living in the city. And the cattle drive was one of those events that brought that across. Everyone would wait patiently and as the crowd grew in anticipation, finally seeing the beautifully groomed horses pulling restored wagons with dignitaries including the aforementioned queen and her court – well, it was a sight to behold for this former big city guy.

The cattle didn't always do what they were supposed to - as cowhands head up the hill in search of cattle that bolted from the herd.

The cattle didn’t always cooperate – as cowhands head up the hill in search of cattle that bolted from the herd.

A couple different years saw a few cattle get loose and head into the hills above Union – this was hilarious to watch, although I’m sure it wasn’t fun for the cowhands who had to race off and round up the cattle back to the herd. It was entertaining, as was the entire happening.

The cows coming home through the streets of Paso Robles was a unique event, so whatever the real reason for why it didn’t happen in 2015, hopefully in years to come, the cattle drive will be restored to its rightful place as the start of the ‘Biggest Little Fair’.


Daryle W. Hier



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