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For Me, the L.A. County Fair Was Just Fair

The L.A. County Fair seems to have changed its focus over the years.

I don't go to the L.A. County Fair every year. In the 46 years I've lived here, it hasn't changed all that much...well, not for the better, anyway. So I don't really see the need to go every year. First of all, I take issue with the month they choose to stage the Fair. Must it always be the hottest month of the year? I mean, at times the heat is as oppressive as an IRS auditor. It can be brutal. This year; however, all things fell into place quite well. For the first time, my family and I went at dusk and stayed as the sun set. It was much more bearable! We also lucked out at going on School Supplies Day...with three school supplies, one received free admission. Of course, being an ex-teacher, I took more than three items for each of us. It's just my nature.

All in all, the Fair seems to be more commercial each time I go. The community, company, educational and artistic exhibits seem fewer. The exhibit halls are filled with booths selling merchandise. It's like a swap meet on steroids. The rest of the fair seems covered in food stands. There's just more places to spend money and less places to be enriched.

In all fairness (no pun intended), there are still places where one can find the accomplishments of the average person and they still have my favorite attraction: the livestock! I never tire of going to look at horses, cows, chickens, goats, llamas, you name it. I especially love seeing the Budweiser Clydesdales.(the largest horses) They are simply awesome and one of the most magnificent animals you'll see anywhere.

The fair also does have the Midway, the attractions for the kids and I do admit that I have a few favorite foods that I MUST eat there. But prices are pretty high. Parking can be $20 a car on weekends. Admission can be another $12-$15 per person and a simple $5.00 fast food meal will cost $15-$20. It's very easy for a family of four to drop $100-$200 for a few hours at the Fair.

All in all, for what the fair offers I will probably let another five to seven years pass before I go again. I come from the Midwest where fairs were places that focused on the people of the area and their accomplishments. They had contests for sewing, cooking, hog calling (yes, it actually IS a skill!) and numerous other things that people became good at. I guess an urban County Fair like L.A.'s has a different focus. I should probably just take it on it's own terms and not be concerned with what it lacks. I'm not sure what other people expect at the Fair, but this year's Fair is not as interesting or as varied as the fair of 1966 was when I first came to this event. In years to come, it might be nice for them to focus on the culture of Southern California as well as the commercial aspects.

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Steven Hanson September 25, 2012 at 12:55 AM
I really think they should move the Fair to April...it's the month when all the schools stagger their Spring Breaks and it could only provide a great, safe place for teens and young kids to go during that period...it would be a potential economic goldmine if they marketed right and had a few more current performers, etc. I didn't really mind all the shopping booths, but I thought much of he merchandise was also overpriced. Maybe I'm just too cheap :)
Holly Hale September 29, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Lidia and BK: My son and I went on Labor Day, right when it opened. It was a reasonable temp. and by the time we left it was boiling. It is sooooo expensive now we didn't even bother to buy tix for one single ride (the log ride where you get wet is my fave). Then a group of women (old enough to have teenagers) got in a cat fight in the animal barn; screaming, kicking, hairpulling, cussing, etc. In front of all those little kids. I thought, "now I know where the girls learn it from" (girls didn't fight when I was growing up). Sorry, that was off topic byt YES BK I think April would be wonderful. It wouldn't be so flippin' hot and it would be a great way for the kids to spend breaks. Safety during the day but a lot of times the bangers are out a night.
Steven Hanson September 29, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I did find out that the gangs are not there in large numbers on week nights as much as they are on weekends. We didn't even consider the rides..I think I'd have to take out a second mortgage first! People fighting in public for any reason is just poor judgment. I am assuming that perhaps alcohol had some influence in that "cat" fight. Sad.
Ariel Carmona Jr September 30, 2012 at 03:32 AM
I agree with you, the timing is awful. I started grad school this fall and I really wanted to go, but things were just too hectic this August-September season.
Steven Hanson September 30, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Trust me, Ariel... your Grad school is probably more satisfying anyway :) Mine was easier than braving the County Fair at times!

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