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The Week Ahead: State’s ‘most beautiful’ fair opens Wednesday

The Union staff

Once described by state senators as California’s “most beautiful fairgrounds,” Nevada County’s fairgrounds will continue an annual tradition dating back to 1884 by opening its gates to the 2013 Nevada County Fair Wednesday morning.

The fair is open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 7-11. General admission is $9 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for children (6-12), with children under the age of five admitted free. Visit NevadaCountyFair.com for more ticket, parking and event information.

This year’s fair has drawn vast media attention beyond Nevada County over the fair board’s decision to contract with “Have Trunk Will Travel,” a Southern California based private company, to operate an elephant ride exhibit as part of this year’s fair them “Under the Big Top.” Large audiences have turned out for a pair of fair board meetings over the issue, as those on both sides of the controversy voiced their opinions on the matter.

The fairgrounds has announced planned “free speech zones” outside gates 1 and 5, where viewpoints can be shared during the fair. Special interest groups may purchase a booth on the inner grounds, with booth applications and copies of the Fair’s free speech policy are available at the Fair’s Administration Office. The nature of the Fair is to provide diversity as evidenced by the participation of our various political parties.

At least one animal rights group, Animal Defenders International, has indicated it plans to make use of the free speech zones 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day of the fair.

“ADI will be present at the Fair’s Free Speech zones, warning the public and asking that they do not pay for the elephant rides,” the organization stated in a news release.

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