The 165th California State Fair wrapped up at Cal Expo in Sacramento on Sunday with thousands of visitors taking a few minutes to stop and learn about Colusa County.

The Counties Exhibit in the California Building has been a long-time feature at the California State Fair, and provides a fun interactive way for counties to showcase what they have to offer.

The booth plays a major role in Colusa County’s tourist industry.

“The goal is to make people aware of all the great things that we have here in Colusa County,” said Gerry Hernandez, who coordinates the exhibit trough the UC Cooperative Extension office.

The 2018 Colusa County exhibit at the State Fair earned a silver award, and featured the Arbuckle Car Show as its primary focus, complete with a 1968 Camaro as its centerpiece. While the classic muscle car was a big hit with fairgoers, visitors were equally impressed to get information about Colusa’s vast agricultural products and recreational opportunities, like the Sacramento River and Colusa Wildlife Refuge.

“Visiting a wildlife refuge is right up my alley,” said Mila Chen, of Sacramento, on Friday, after looking over one of the many brochures available at the exhibit. “I’ve passed through Colusa County on Interstate 5, but I didn’t know it had a refuge. I think I would like to visit when the geese come back for the winter.”

Robert Gutierrez, of West Sacramento, said he plans to be a first-time visitor at the Arbuckle Car Show on Oct. 28.

This year’s Best of Show went to Amador County, with Colusa’s neighbor, Glenn County, picking up gold and a special award for best content. Yolo County’s silver award winning booth picked up a special ward for best professional built.

Hernandez said Colusa County spends just $3,000 on its exhibit, while some counties spend $20,000 or more in attempt to pick up special awards. Only 18 counties had exhibits at the State Fair, down from 24 exhibits in 2017.

“We’re very happy with the silver award,” she said. “Our exhibit never fails to get people to Colusa County.”

The California State Fair would also not be complete without plenty of local youth, individuals, and commercial manufactures bringing their animals and specialties to be judged.

Strauss Giffin, 11, of Maxwell, had a very good first experience in a California State Fair show ring on July 27.

Giffin entered the open swine division with Sissy, a 250-pound crossbred (Hampshire/Yorkshire) gilt, a young female pig that has not yet had piglets.

Giffin placed second in his class, doing better than he thought he would for his first time in the ring.

“It was really fun,” Giffin said after the show. “I was pretty nervous at first, but I’m happy I did it,” Giffin said. “It was exciting. It was my first time winning a ribbon.”

Giffin got Sissy, who was born in February, from a breeder, and said he worked with her daily to get her ready for the ring.

“She’s nice and friendly,” he said. “She is a breeding hog, so I’m going to keep her and breed her.”

Colusa County’s best bakers, canners, wine makers and olive oil manufacturers also brought their specialties to be judged live at the California State Fair.

Dr. Kerri Bartlett, of Colusa, earned 99 out of 100 points for her three-layer chocolate cake, earning her a blue ribbon.

In the commercial wine division, Arbuckle’s Grindstone Wine earned silver for its 2014 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon Valley View; and bronze for both its 2014 Cortina Red blend and 2013 Cortina Red blend.

In the commercial olive oil division, Maxwell’s Organic Roots won gold for its Arbequina Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, silver for its Koroneiki, and bronze for its Ambosana.

Visitors to the California State Fair this year enjoyed classic entertainment, plenty of food, new rides, dozens of exhibits, and unique experiences such as a National Geographic photography exhibit called “Future of Food” and the California Rice Commission exhibit on one of the Sacramento Valley’s leading food crops.

Fair Chief Executive Officer Rick Pickering said the California State Fair is all about educating people through entertainment, and offers fun for the entire family on 800 acres.