Say the words “Orange County” to most people, and the last thing that comes to mind is a county fair. However, if we consult our history, the reason that there is an Orange in OC is because during the majority of the last century, it was an agricultural hot spot.
It’s true, though. If you don’t believe me, go take a look at the exhibit at Muzeo in Downtown Anaheim. Guys like Carl Karcher and Walt Disney helped grab this place and thrust into big city living in the 1950’s.
Now, before we go further into this review, I must warn you. I love the Orange County Fair. Although I was raised in LA County, I think that the one in Pomona mows this place’s lawn. It’s the perfect combination of animals, sleeved OC parents pushing strollers, and midway ballyhoo to get this mark to drop some cash.
To honor the Orange County Fair, this will be my first ever multi-page entry.
So, without further ado, this way to the egress.
First, a little etymology on the word “mark”. That’s an old carnie term. If you had a wad of cash, one of the carnies would put a mark of chalk on your back. As you walked down the midway, all of the pitchmen knew to work you a little harder.
I tell you this, dear reader, as a warning. You see, don’t plan on going to the fair looking for a discount. For the last several years, I have rolled in with $100.00. I have never left with more than about seven or eight bucks. If you don’t have the cash, don’t go to the fair. You will be disappointed.
Now, with that in mind, here is how I wisely invested my $100.00 this year. First stop, Hercules, the Giant Horse.
Yup. He’s big all right. And ornery. He doesn’t take kindly to a bunch of rubes standing and gawking.
Now, if you’re not related to old man Rockefeller, you can also pay a visit to an oversized plastic cow for free.
The key to enjoying the fair is to spread it out. To speak coarsely, don’t blow your load all at once. Once thing that I can recommend without hesitation are County Fair Cinnamon Rolls. These things are a little piece of perfection.
I would describe them as “adult sweet”. They aren’t the sickly sweet, type-two diabetes jazz that get kids off.
Quick word of caution: Don’t bank on getting one at the LA County Fair. County Fair Cinnamon Rolls don’t do Pomona. Diva attitude? Probably. But the way these things taste, I relinquish all the power to them to make the rules.
Chocolate covered bacon? I don’t eat the swine, so I don’t know. But according to my wife who does, this one would get classified under “sucker bet”.
There are plenty of the normal diversions on the midway, like freaky clowns, jumbo-sized turkey legs and sand sculptures of Weird Al Yankovic.
This is the perfect place to go if you have any issues paying attention.
Multiple petting zoos and amazing products of the future like rhinestone studded cell phone covers shouldn’t be missed.
For generations, anything that happens at a fair or a carnival immediately gets denigrated to low-brow entertainment. I’m calling bullshit on that one. Take a look at this.
By my count, in this series of pictures, there are no fewer than twenty plates spinning. Twenty plates! Why doesn’t the Academy give these guys an award for their efforts?
This isn’t a fugazi. This lady is balancing on nine kitchen chairs, which are being held up by four wine bottles, which are balancing on a stool. Lemme see one of those poor mentally challenged people on The Hills do this.
Of course, right after viewing something like Chinese Acrobats, there will always be a reminder that you’re at the fair. You see this poor bastard? He was trying to eat a three-pound funnel cake. Didn’t do it, so he had to pay for it. At this point, all he was doing was gagging.
The big trend at the fair over the last decade has been to deep-fry everything imaginable. So far, I’ve tried deep-fried avocado (crappy), as well as deep-friend Oreos and Twinkies (godlike). This year, I gave the deep-fried Snicker’s bar a try. The flavor completely missed me and I can’t recommend it.
At this point, you might not be entirely convinced. Can’t you find all of these distractions at the LA County Fair? I suppose. But before you veto it, there are two very important things that you must take into consideration before passing judgment. First, is its size. The OC Fair is easily half of the size of the zoo in Pomona.
Second is the fact that the OC Fair has put a real emphasis on Arts and Crafts. Every year I make it a point to look at what the amateur artists are doing behind the Orange Curtain.
I have a lot of respect for any place that foregoes endless miles of Jacuzzi salesmen in favor of giving amateur creative folks a real outlet for their work.
Of course if you notice the guy in the background holding the oversized banana, you can never entirely forget where you are.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . .
The Orange County Fair runs for about a month during the early summer on a yearly basis. Do yourself a favor and go check it out next year.