When San Mateo County fairgoers see 17-year-old Rosalind Castillo’s pig, lamb, turkey and chicken exhibit and learn the animals are from San Bruno , they are often confused.
“So many people see San Bruno and say, ‘ San Bruno ? Where is there a farm in San Bruno?” said Castillo, a Capuchino High School student.
They exist, Castillo said, although she and fair organizers understand the county fair is often the only time suburban Peninsula residents realize their region is actually home to farm and exotic animals.
Castillo is one of 145 kids and teenagers from across the county exhibiting 265 animals this year, a fair section that has proven to be an old standby.
What is new this year, and what organizers said has already been one of their most popular destinations, is the Rancho California exhibit next door to Castillo’s animals.
There, fairgoers can pet, feed and interact with about 25 animals, such as camels, ponies, cows and chicks — experiences that are becoming rarer every year on the Peninsula as development increases, organizers said.
“For a lot of people, a cow is just as unusual as something they see at the zoo, since they never see these animals” in San Mateo County , fair spokeswoman Marie Franko said.
Redwood City resident Makayla Arvin, 11, would not argue with that assertion. She raised a hog and a rabbit for showing at the fair this year, an experience she said she loves but is uncommon for kids growing up in the area.
“When you live in a city you don’t see or do this kind of stuff,” said Arvin, who called her pig a friendlier version of a dog.
Organizers and p art icipants said they see the 10-day fair as a rare opportunity to educate the thousands of visitors who walk through Rancho California and the youth farm exhibit each day about how important the topic is to the region.
“I tell them where the farms are in San Bruno , and how to get there,” Castillo said.
San Mateo County Fair
When: Noon to 11 p.m. Thursday and Sunday; noon to midnight Friday and Saturday
Where: San Mateo County Event Center ,2495 S. Delaware St., San Mateo
Tickets: $9 for adults; $7 for children (6-12) and seniors (55 and older); free for kids under 5
Contact: (650) 574-3247 or visit www.sanmateocountyfair.com