The summer fair -- five days of fun food, thrill rides, tribute bands, nervous sheep and nose-twitching bunnies -- returns to Napa Valley Expo Wednesday with a promise to take you to the moon and beyond.

About everything a person expects at the Napa Town & Country Fair will be back for this year's edition, titled "Reach for the Moon," said Joe Anderson, the Expo's CEO.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon, the fair is featuring an interactive exhibit, Be the Astronaut, in the center of Chardonnay Hall. 

Anyone, young or old, can sit in a command module and simulate piloting their spacecraft through the solar system, Anderson said.

This is a "museum-quality" exhibit that rarely can be found at a community fair, said Anderson, who has run with the space theme, making a cow in an an astronaut's suit the symbol of this year's fair.

Admission prices -- $13 for adults, $10 for seniors 60 and older, and youth 6 to 12 years -- haven't changed in nine years, Anderson said. "We're trying to keep it reasonable for families," he said.

The major musical acts on the Plaza Stage, free with fair admission, are: Wednesday, The Righteous Brothers, featuring Bill Medley from the original hit-making duo; Thursday, The Spinners, a soul group from the 1970s; Friday, country-western star Tracy Byrd; Saturday, Kiss and Journey tribute bands, and Sunday, Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits, a top-of-the-charts pop group from the '60s.

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In keeping with recent fair tradition, Anderson said he tried to book a Latino band with crossover appeal for the Plaza Stage, but was unsuccessful.

The Junior Livestock Auction for sheep, hogs and cattle is set for Saturday, but the animals are on display for the run of the fair.

There will be no chickens on display this year due to an outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease in Southern California, Anderson said. The state veterinarian is recommending that fairs not display birds as a precautionary measure until the disease is contained, he said.

The fair's secondary music venue, the Bandstand Stage, will feature evening performances by Heartless on Wednesday, Take 2 on Thursday, Cripple Creek on Friday, Big Bad Boogie Rock on Saturday and Fresh on Sunday.

Entertainment can be found throughout the grounds, provided by such walkaround acts as Skip Banks, known as the Balloon Guy, the Smart Fellers musical group, Rollo who walks on elevator stilts, and Something Ridiculous, a juggling act.

Children can participate in the Circus Imagination and attend Clown College.

The fairgrounds are open from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and until 9 p.m. on Sunday. 

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.