After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Redwood Acres Fair scored a shockingly sunny Humboldt summer day to kick off its long-awaited 2022 edition. And trust LoCO on this one: Whether it be the result of Wednesday’s promise of free admission or the unprecedented fair drought locals have been forced to endure, or some combination, the place was absolutely packed with people. Lines were long for rides and food booths alike, but the mood was joyous nevertheless. Humboldt was happy to see each other again.
Color and movement met the eye wherever you turned. The midway was bustling with games one feels over-confident they can win, fried food you try to resist but eventually succumb to, corny ventriloquism, acrobats, jugglers, rockin’ tunes and rides you’ve ridden a million times… but here you go again for some reason!
“I couldn’t be happier with the turnout for day one,” said Mic Moulton, the longtime local stock car racing star who has now ascended to the role of Redwood Acres Fairgrounds CEO and who is overseeing his first fair this year. As recently as a few months ago, it wasn’t certain that the fair would be able to proceed this year due to California’s COVID restrictions. Still, Moulton said his team has spent months updating and remodeling the grounds to make sure they looked their best for returning fairgoers.
“Everybody’s been waiting to bust out and do things again,” Moulton told the Outpost. “With our current situation with gas prices it’s making it hard for people to travel. People are dying for stuff to do, so the fact that we can bring this level of entertainment to town is pretty awesome.”
There were other challenges to making the fair happen this year. As COVID shut down events across the country for the past two years, numerous companies that provide entertainment and services to fairs were forced to cease operations making competition fiercer for fair organizers looking to book the ones that remained. Moulton noted that Redding’s fair is also running this weekend which made things tricky. But as someone who grew up attending events at Redwood Acres, making sure his team offered up the best fair possible to the community was a labor of love.
“This is a place that’s near and dear to me,” Moulton said. “And what I find as I talk to [fair] partners and sponsors is that everybody has memories of this place growing up. They played football or baseball. They watched the races. For me, I’m named after my dad’s favorite baseball player, Mickey Mantle. And I met Mickey right out on that grass when I was six years old and got his autograph. I grew up watching the stock car races. I watched a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in the grandstands. There’s so many emotional connections. And that’s what we’re about: Building experiences and making memories.”
The Outpost hung around the Redwood Acres Fair’s opening day in an attempt to capture some of those aforementioned memories in photo form. Please, now scroll down for way more photos than you require of the fair day that was.