Solano County Fair, June 15-18: Bees, Butterflies and More

You might not expect to see Anthocharis sara sara in McCormack Hall during the 74th annual Solano County Fair, Vallejo, June 15-18. 

But you will. It's a photograph titled "Painted Wings" by Regan Van Tuyl, 13 of Dixon.

UC Davis distinguished professor Art Shapiro identified it as the ventral side of a Sara Orange-Tip (See

“The Sara Orange-Tip is common in foothill and lower montane habitats (Coast Range/Bay Area and Sierran West slope) but is hardly ever encountered in the Central Valley,” Shapiro writes on his website, Art's Butterfly World. “It ‘flies a bea' along roadsides and streamsides in foothill woodland and montane coniferous forest, and along the bases of cliffs in canyons. It often flies in and out of dappled light and shade but is less shade-tolerant than the Gray-Veined White. In the Sierra Nevada it is rarely seen above 5000' (except at Donner Pass, where it is seen nearly every year at the West end), replaced upslope by the Stella Orange-Tip with a ‘no-man's land' around 5000' where both may be seen but neither seems to breed. In the Klamath-Trinity-Siskiyou Mountains in N.W. California, where there is no Stella, Sara goes up to 9000'--suggesting that one entity somehow excludes the other in the Sierra Nevada.”

Shapiro, who has monitored butterfly populations in central California since 1972, says the host plants include “Brassicaceae: Milkmaids (crinkleroot, Toothwort), Dentaria (Cardamine); Yellow Rocket (Barbarea); Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale var. leiocarpum); infrequently on weedy Mustard (Brassica spp.) and Radish (Raphanus) but only along wood roads. Eggs blue-green when laid but turning bright red. Larvae feed primarily on buds, flowers, and fruit. Adults are eager visitors to Brassicaceous flowers, also California Buckeye, Yerba Santa, Blue Dicks, Fiddleneck, etc.” 

We can't tell you awards entries won because the fair isn't open yet. On the first day of the fair, Thursday, June 15 (free admission), the hours are 4 to to 10 p.m.

The theme? "Celebrate Solano."

But if you like insects—and you should—you'll not only "Celebrate Solano" but "Celebrate Insects." You'll see a few bees and butterflies (including a morpho) in McCormack Hall, home of junior exhibits. McCormack Hall's superintendent is Sharon Payne of Roseville, (formerly of Vallejo), a past president of the Solano County 4-H Leaders' Council and a veteran 4-H leader (14 years). Her daughter, Julianna Payne Brown of Benicia, also a 4-H veteran, serves as the assistant superintendent of McCormack Hall. 

In Fine Arts (senior division), check out the acrylic oil painting of Caitlin Douglas of Vallejo. It's entered under "Open Art, Plants and Animals." A portion of her painting depicts a honey bee foraging on clover. It is titled, appropriately, "Clover Honey." See more on the Solano County Fair website.

Heading the Solano County Fair Board of Directors is Valerie Williams of Vacaville, who retired last year after a 25-year career as the Solano County 4-H Program Representative, with  UC Cooperative Extension. 

Did we mention that this month is National Pollinators Month