PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- The Monterey County Fair opened its doors to service members and their dependents with free admission and discounted ride wristbands Aug. 30. The day, designated as Military Day by fair organizers, included a special flag ceremony in the Pattee Arena in conjunction with the Flying U Rodeo performance.

"We are proud to honor the men and women in all branches of the military. The military is such an important part of our local community and the Monterey County Fair. We love celebrating their contributions to our nation, and this day allows the fair to recognize their service to our country," said county fair CEO Kelly Violini in a statement issued to the Presidio.

The five-day long county fair provided fair-goers an abundance of entertainment options that included carnival-style rides and midway games; live musical concerts by the artists such as Spin Doctors, Marshall Tucker Band and Tower of Power; rodeo shows; a beer garden; informational booths; and agricultural and livestock exhibitions.

According to Airman 1st Class Neil Brown, a Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center student, the Monterey County Fair was creating buzz around the Presidio as the "it" thing to do in Monterey over Labor Day weekend.

"I was asking around to everybody 'what are you going to do this weekend?' and everybody kept mentioning the fair," said Brown.

On a Friday that kicked off the weekend unofficially marking the end of summer, the fair appeared to have a strong turnout that included a large number of military members and their families.

Along with impeccable Monterey weather that saw clear skies and temperatures topping out in the mid 70s, people may have been drawn to the fairs displays of Americana and small-town charms reminiscent of days gone by.

"It feels nice being here. It has that small-town feel to it," Brown said, describing the fair. "I'm from a very small town in Missouri, and the fair reminds me of that."