Jonicia Newsom watched in amazement as a large pumpkin inside The Big Fresno Fair Agriculture Building was transformed into a dragon.
“I saw that big one that looked like Pete’s Dragon and I heard about the (Disney) movie so I was like ‘Oh, nice dragon pumpkin.’ ”
Newsom, 23, was one of several dozens of people who were captivated by the pumpkin-carving exhibit Sunday during the last day of the fair.
Large crowds turned out despite the cool and blustery weather – some said they appreciated the chance to wander the fair on a day when temperatures stayed in the upper 70s, relatively cool compared to even a week ago when temperatures were in the low 90s. The fair continued into the evening hours.
How this year’s fair did compared to previous years isn’t likely to be known until sometime later this week.
At the pumpkin exhibit, carver Russ Leno, 64, worked on another pumpkin project as several people sat and watched, while others walked around to touch and snap pictures of his other carvings, one featuring Pikachu and another depicting an elephant.
Newsom, from Fresno, wondered how the sculptor made the large dragon, guessing it took several pumpkins to put it together complete with wings and a tail.
“He must have used more than one pumpkin to make that,” Newsom said.
Indeed, Leno said later that the dragon took more than four hours to carve and was put together with three pumpkins.
The pumpkin carving demonstration – and a pumpkin carving contest in the Home Arts Building for fairgoers – provided a nice bit of entertainment for some wandering through the Agriculture Building, but there were other attractions that people found, as well.
Judy Gong, 67, of Fresno was making her fourth visit to the fair this year. She managed to also hit it on senior’s day, when those 62 and older got in free.
Sunday was the perfect time to bring relatives from San Jose, especially being the last day of the fair, Gong said.
Like every year, Gong took her granddaughter to the pony rides, but her main attraction, however, is food.
“We mainly come here to eat,” Gong said. “We tried the lobster fries this year.”
Besides spending time with family and munching on fair food, Gong said she also enjoyed Sunday’s weather, which was breezy but cool – not hot as often is the case.
Ericka Cantu, 43, also found the time to bring family to the fair. She came from Sanger with her husband and two daughters.
It was the first time Cantu had attended the fair this year since it opened on Oct. 5. Cantu’s 10 a.m. arrival gave her a chance to do many things.
“We went to exhibits, then we went on some rides for the kids and we also ate a little bit of fair food that we usually do every year,” Cantu said.
Cantu said her family hadn’t had the chance until Sunday to attend the southeast Fresno attraction.
“So today was the day that we were able to bring the kids as a family,” Cantu said.
While tasting fair food like corn dogs, deep-fried Oreos and ice cream was a big part of the visit, Cantu made sure her kids were having fun. By all appearances, Cantu said, that mission was accomplished.
“It seems like the kids had a great time,” she said.