Best of Humboldt Fair kicks off at Redwood Acres in Eureka

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EUREKA- Thursday marked the first day of the 77th annual Redwood Acres, The Best of Humboldt Fair in Eureka.  Organizers expect 30,000 people to attend the four-day fair, which features games, rides and animal attractions.  But organizers say the fair is about much more.

"It's awesome!" said Devin Alexy, a child attending the fair.

"When I was a teacher, I liked this one, the octopus.  Not now.  But when I was a teenager, I thought that was great.  But the kids are just enjoying this so you can see it's great for kids," said Claudia Nelson, a Hydesville resident attending the fair.

But organizers say displaying the best Humboldt County has to offer is what the event is really about.

"What it's truly all about is showcasing all of our local people that want to be showcased and give them a great opportunity to meet people that probably maybe will never wonder through their stores, or see their product other than here, in a fun, inviting way where they can meet, greet, and hopefully get new customers and showcase all that Humboldt County has to offer," said Cindy Bedingfield, the CEO of Redwood Acres.

Many local businesses, including Ohana Organics, which produces organic creams, lotions and perfumes, had exhibits set up at the fair.

"It's a one stop shop.  You get to come here, you get to meet the people that actually create the products and see some of the stores and find out that it's all here in one place," said Tara Cooper, the owner of Ohana Organics.

"They're not on TV.  They're not advertised in stores.  And they're great technology, things that you don't know about," said Steve Machado, a Fortuna resident attending the fair.

But what the fair originally featured is the Humboldt Raised Livestock Auction, which now features elementary, middle and high school agriculture students who raise animals to be judged and sold at the fair.  Recent Eureka High School graduate and Future Farmers of America member, Kara Kline, has been raising her steers since October.

"My nerves are just going and I know I have one more day to wait until I show so that's kind of what I'm waiting for," said Kline.

The new addition to the fair this year is the Industrial Technology Fair, featuring items made by middle and high school students from seven schools in Humboldt County.

"It gives high school students the ability to show off their work in a field that may not get a lot of attention. And a lot of times in high schools locally, they're cutting out these programs.  And I think they're extremely important to a lot of our youth,” said Carmen Arguello, a recent graduate of McKinleyville High School who entered sculptures into the Industrial Technology Fair.

"I think the kids, once they display the projects to the community, they can kind of feel proud of what they've accomplished," said Dave Stevens, a Woodshop and Drafting teacher at Eureka High School.