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.