Monday, October 6, 2008

The Los Angeles County Fair - Worth Every Penny (14,500)

Originally posted at Bliss on 9-13-08

We had our usual wonderful time at the LA County Fair this week. It’s an annual tradition with our family to go at least once, often two or three times, during the season, and the evening we picked could not have been nicer. The lack of crowds and cool temperatures made for an enchanting fair experience.

While I’m always shocked to hear people discount or disparage The Fair – and, yes, I mean YOU, co-workers – I can understand how easy it would be to get lost in the hype and schlock. The commercial buildings with their nonstop sales and the carnival midway along with ever exorbitant food prices can be a bit off-putting.

However, I love the fair. LOVE IT. With just a bit of attention, you can still have a lovely, old-fashioned country fair experience. My kids get to practice such traditional skills as spinning or weaving. We’ve made rag dolls, panned for gold, created art projects, played one-room school, and followed the entire production cycle of a glass of milk or a sample of honey. The Fair still presents a rich legacy of traditional American skills and values in a wonderful, dynamic contact zone with modern Southern California life.

Where else can you go from barns full of horses and cows to Mexican Heritage to smiling, tap-dancing children to tattooed drunks stumbling out of a horse race, poorer but not wiser, within just a few steps?

Plus do not overlook the power of the fried food. This year I was appalled and delighted to find fried Reese’s, fried Snickers, fried Twinkies, fried frog legs, and, yes, fried Pop Tarts on offer with the more traditional fare of corn dogs, funnel cakes and donuts.

With my focus on tradition, the Home Arts Building is always a highlight. I feel a sense of awe when I stand before those gleaming, glowing jars of jams and luscious canned fruits. I worship at the cases filled with cookies, cakes, and breads, always wondering why I don’t enter my own baked goods into the running. I marvel at the patience and perseverance of women who still make the time to quilt or embroider or knit.

New to The Fair this year – a children’s playhouse area, small pipe cleaner-like worm toys that some of us will remember from our own youths, and, ta-da, CUPCAKES iced and decorated for you while you watch. YUM!

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