Los Angeles County Fair

2 10 2009

The Los Angeles County Fair ends this weekend!  I am usually there to say goodbye to the fair on its last weekend.  It is my favorite time.  I get to spend the last hours with the Sham-Wow and Ginsu knife salesmen hanging at the bar discussing the last few weeks.  This year they extended the fair by a week meaning that it conflicts with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park, so I had to go last weekend, the second to last weekend.  I absolutely love the fair.  Perhaps it has something to do with me growing up in suburbia and not knowing anything about what a county fair was like, or if it even existed, and then reading Charlotte’s Web and wondering could that really happen?

I think that when I read the book I thought that the idea of a fair was fantasy along with talking pigs and spiders, but now I understand that the fair is truly an interesting and amazing relic in our culture.  The LACF as we like to call it is a huge organization encompassing all realms such as concessions, rides, events, concerts, exhibits, etc.  I happen to run the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition Spirits portion, but while we are judging spirits earlier in the year there are judges judging wines, beers, jams, pies, pickles, tapestry items like quilts or baby blankets, tablescaping (setting up a cool table for a party), etc.  Once the fair gets going they start judging a la minute the things that are a bit more timely like pigs, cows, etc.  While some might balk at the idea of a county fair the process although steeped in tradition really offers up an opportunity to embrace the culture of farming that used to exist in this country years ago.

I made a joke while teaching my wine class at the LACF that I had visited the goats and that they looked delicious and was accosted by laughs and raised eyebrows (about fifty-fifty) but the point is that our food has to come from someplace and to take your children to the fair really brings that point home.  If you have decided to  serve your brethren meat then I feel you should be comfortable in finding out where that comes from and showing them what that looks like and how it is sold.

The fair is such a wonderous place to me, I so enjoy the fair food, like my favorite character Templeton in Charlotte’s Web I find joy in the luscious foodstuffs that are presented to me!  My favorites are:

Dr. Bob’s Ice Cream ANY flavor, great stuff.  Tell Ruth I sent you if you go.

Roasted Corn: Best Spot is near the Fairview Farms add butter, chili powder, salt, etc. but bring lots of napkins

Steamed Artichoke with Mayonnaise: On the main food alley really pleasant to get your veg while enjoying the fair

Barbecue from ???? ask the fair workers who is serving the best right now, it changes year to year.  Get extra sauce and don’t forget the tooth floss, this is no classy knife n fork bbq, this will take effort

Wine Sampling: Head over to the Ralph’s Wine and Spirit Marketplace  to taste some of the gold winning wines and spirits!  Take classes to learn how to taste, this is unique to fairs across the country and offers you a great chance to meet up with fun wine lovers

Go to the booth near the racetrack to try the latest in fried food!  Although you might not be up for deep-fried frog’s legs or fried Spam you may want to camp out at the booth and try what they have to offer!  It’s amazing to see folks embarking on a culinary fiasco, so enjoy the view!

Animals:My favorite part of the fair is getting to know the animals.  This year I saw baby goats!  There were tons all jumping around, but the most amazing were the ones that were born while I was teaching my class on Spirits at the Ralph’s Marketplace!  They were 2 HOURS old!  The mother was still getting to know them and it was super cool.  The barns are incredibly well kept and clean and they even offer hand washing stations so after you get down and dirty with the farm animals you can clean up.

Head out to the fair this weekend if you are in the area of Pomona, CA and you will not be disappointed!