FERNDALE- The Humboldt County Fair kicked off in Ferndale, which marks the 118th year for this Humboldt tradition.
The 2014 Humboldt County Fair started with the flags being raised at half-mast in honor of Herb Peterson Jr., who was on the Board of the Humboldt County Fair Association for 40 years. Peterson Jr. passed away last week at the age of 91. As the opening ceremony continued, in a new tradition, Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn rode a camel for the parade. He has been coming to the fair for more than 50 years.
"You can get a full day vacation, you can take a couple days, but don't miss the fair, it's going to be a good one this year," said Bohn.
"It's just about every year, coming together, and knowing you're going to see your friends and your community, and it's a place to have a good time," said Virginia Bass, the 4th District Supervisor for Humboldt County.
A staple of the fair is the “Double Eagle” Ferris Wheel, which goes 70 feet in the air and is 12-year-old Eureka resident Calvin Brown’s favorite ride.
"I like that it doesn't go at lightning speed, and that it goes up high so it still has thrill," said Brown.
The “Yoyo” is popular among kids. Its swings rotate at about 30 miles per hour for the three minute ride.
"I just like to look around, see everything, see what ride I'm going to go on next," said 8-year-old Garberville resident Milani Hunnicutt.
Some like to stay closer to the ground.
"I'm pretty big on camels right now, but I guess the merry-go-round is probably still my favorite from when I was a kid and everything else. You can take those other ones, I'll leave that up to the young kids," Bohn said.
Others say they enjoy some of the fair's more thrilling rides, like the “Zipper.”
"I like flipping a lot. And just being in the cage is fun and going high in the air is fun, too," said 14-year-old Ferndale resident Darby McWaters.
But coming to the fair is about more than fun and games. With cuts to state funding for the fair, organizers say a strong attendance is critical.
"When they come out and support the fair, they're providing us the ability to continue to put on the fair and promote the fair. Without the attendance and the community support, we wouldn't be able to put the fair on that we do," said Richard Conway, the General Manager of the Humboldt County Fair Association.
Organizers say planning for the Humboldt County Fair is a year-round process. As a testament to how much the fair is a staple of the community, Ferndale High School graduates plan their reunions for the two weekends of the fair, to be able to enjoy all of the festivities. The fair lasts until August 24th.