Don’t Miss All the Fun of the Fair in Paso Robles

The California Mid-State Fair is a summer dose of fun drawing crowds to Paso Robles
The California Mid-State Fair is a summer dose of fun drawing crowds to Paso Robles | © Travel Paso
Casey Hatfield-Chiotti

It’s not all about robust reds in this Wine Country city, as the California Mid-State Fair sees agricultural heritage and Old West charm steal the show this summer.

Loved by over 40s

What’s happening?

The California Mid-State Fair (July 21-August 1, 2021), which first opened in 1946, is an annual dose of old-fashioned fun. The event takes place each summer at the 40-acre (16ha) Fairgrounds, also known as the Paso Robles Event Center, just north of downtown. A giant Ferris wheel and other carnival rides light up the sky at night. Local kids work all year to raise healthy livestock to showcase at the fair, and there are many locavore food vendors. Its slogan is “The Biggest Little Fair Anywhere,” but there’s nothing small about the musical acts it draws. The Mid-State Fair has hosted some of the biggest names in music like Aerosmith, Blake Shelton and John Mayer. The Horse Show that takes place each year during the fair includes events like barrel racing and roping. Pig races and a marketplace showcasing locally grown and handmade items are also crowd pleasers. So grab your favorite plaid shirt and hit the road for Paso Robles with our weekend-ready selection of available hotels and experiences.

The California Mid-State Fair draws some of the biggest names in music

Who’s there?

The California Mid-State Fair is a busy time for Paso Robles and its residents. Children have worked all year raising animals they hope will win blue ribbons at the fair. Many locals work at the fair during the day holding events and tastings and return in the evening to catch a show, take the kids on rides or devour one of the fair’s legendary corndogs. “I’d say the town’s energy gets very focused on the fairgrounds,” says Joeli Yaguda, co-founder of General Store Paso Robles, a shop on Paso’s town square that specializes in locally made pantry items and homewares. “People are proud of the fair; it’s steeped in tradition,” adds Joeli. The crowd changes daily because of the variety of events held, from flower arranging and baking displays to wine competitions (tough gig). Expect to see a mix of people in their best cowboy boots and Stetsons, families and sophisticated wine lovers.

Kids have plenty of rides to enjoy at the fair;
Young people raise animals hoping to snag a blue ribbon;
Locavore food vendors share their creations;

Don’t miss

With its 19th-century architecture, its historic square with an old bandstand and a plethora of excellent restaurants and wineries to visit, Paso Robles is worth visiting even when there isn’t a fair going on. Make sure to book a table at Les Petites Canailles, an authentic French bistro by way of Paso Robles serving dry-aged steaks and moules frites alongside an award-winning wine list featuring many selections from the excellent Paso winery L’Aventure – which you should also visit for tours and tastings, not least because the chef’s father is also the winemaker there. The Paso Market Walk is a new honeypot spot that’s aiming to reinvent the traditional farmer’s market by converting a Victorian-era home into an architecturally arresting complex housing chefs, ranches, vintners and more sustainable food makers. Purveyors include a gelato maker, a vegan creamery and upscale Mexican restaurant, Finca, owned by the same people as Napa’s La Taquiza. To end the weekend in style, head to the horse-shaped wine bar of the Pony Club Wine Bar – one of the liveliest places in Paso to drink a peppery local Zinfandel.

Paso Robles sits in the heart of the Central California wine region

Keen to make a weekend of it? Browse our curated collection of hotels and experiences available during the California Mid-State Fair – bookable here on Culture Trip.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.