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The Fair and Expo has a 1950s theme this year, so “be there or be square,” as they say. Or enjoy one of the other options this weekend.

Fifties fair

The Earl Warren Showgrounds is rocking this weekend with nonstop entertainment and fun for all ages at the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo. Music, dancing, magic and more are performed on two stages, and the Carnival Midway promises thrilling rides including the new Super Shot Drop Tower, a hair-raising drop from a 90-foot tower.

Expo means exposition, so there are farm animals and livestock, wine and beer, cooking contests, arts and crafts, horticulture and fine arts displays. Little ones love the Petting Zoo, junior carnival rides and the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs (exactly what the name implies).

Skip the lines and buy tickets online ( at $8 for adults, $5 for kids. Wristbands for unlimited carnival rides are $28. Park at a remote lot at Bishop Diego High School or La Cumbre Middle School, and catch one of the trollies that run on the half-hour.

Founding fun

Celebrate 235 years of history at the Santa Barbara Founding Day Festival, starting at noon Saturday at El Presidio State Historic Park. There’s a re-enactment of the original 1782 founding ceremony -- including authentic period uniforms -- along with living history activities such as colonial cooking, heritage gardening, archaeology and more. Music and dance of early California is performed. It’s rumored that the city’s patron saint, Barbara, will make an appearance. It’s free founding fun. (965-0093,

Flix mix

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Highlights from the New York International Children’s Film Festival are screened in UCSB Campbell Hall on Sunday during the “Kids Flix Mix.” These kid-friendly, parent-approved and jury-selected movies are short and very sweet -- the average running time is about six minutes.

One ticket is good for two different screenings, both around one-hour long: 11 a.m. is for ages 4 to 6, and at 12:30 p.m. for ages 6 and older. Stay for both and the fun activities in between. But that’s not all: The fun starts at 10 a.m. with balloons, face painting and crafts. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for children 12 and under. (893-3535,

Careers for kids

Know a young adult who wants to pursue a career in the arts? Art Without Limits presents its annual Art Career Day Conference for ages 13 to 25 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fe Bland Forum at Santa Barbara City College’s West Campus. Registration is at 10:30 a.m. It’s free, thanks to sponsors, and includes a complimentary lunch (attendees over age 25 are asked for a $25 donation).

This is for youngsters who want to pursue a career in fine art, music, graphic design, writing, photography, film, media, performing arts, fashion and more. It’s where to find mentors and internships, explore career strategies and get questions answered from professional artists and business experts. (

Julia McHugh can be reached at