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Spend a day at the LA County Fair

food, tour, hollywood

The LA County Fair is running through September 25, 2016 and we spent a warm afternoon enjoying all the sites and bites on offer. It had been six years since we last drove an hour east of Los Angeles to spend a day at the Fairplex in Pomona and we were overdue. With this year’s tagline being #daretofair I just knew we had to accept the challenge to get out there and check out the scene. Leading tours on weekends, weekdays become our play time and so we were able to attend on a Wednesday afternoon. Bear in mind that the fair is not open on Mondays and Tuesdays. We spent a full five hours perusing the fairgrounds and logged in 14,000 steps (4,000 over the daily suggestion of 10,000 steps a day)! We did a few new things and also enjoyed some of our favorite LA County Fair activities.

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We basically planned our day around the pig races, which take place several times a day. There is just something about watching those little squealers race around the track. This year they even used some potbelly pigs, who didn’t seem to understand it was a race. In between the pigs racing around the track, we watched geese and turkeys too. After the pig races, we collected our coupons for free bacon from Ralphs, the race sponsor, and then headed to the barns to see all the animals. This year the rabbits caught our attention and of course the pigs, my favorite farm animal. Matt is quite certain we said hello to every pig on the property!

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We perused all the Expo Halls and bypassed every salesman except the fudge booth and the free 10 minutes in the massage chairs. We were happy to get the free 10 minutes as the cost of each chair was upwards of $9,000!! On Wednesdays, there is a special deal where each food vendor is supposed to offer a “taste” of their product for $2.00. So the small bite of fudge was just enough, from a traveling fudge company out of Mackinac Island in Michigan. Speaking of tastes, I really wanted to eat something on a stick. So this year that was a grilled ear of corn. Although we noticed a few new deep fried menu items, we stuck with a healthy choice of turkey leg tacos. So you’re probably familiar with the Texas-sized turkey legs, this year they shredded the turkey meat to make tacos. Three tacos to an order. We capped off the evening with soft serve. While we were intrigued by the deep fried butter balls, we just could not bring ourselves to try them even though the staff said they tasted like inside-out pancakes. Intriguing but no thanks.

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This year we got to meet Stanley the Giraffe, who came out from hiding to greet his fans. There was also a monkey exhibit near Stanley’s house, so we watched the monkey show. We did not spend any extra for the Jurassic Planet, Our Body and The Igloo skating rink though the cost was a reasonable $5 for each of those specialty exhibits. As the sun set and the temps cooled a bit, we entered our last building, the Grandstand. We enjoyed seeing all the award winning quilts, baked goods, table settings and more, and got there just in time to watch the judging of the Cheesecake Contest. Matt was a little disappointed when they told him they had all the judges they needed.

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There are lots of discounts to be had if you look for them. On certain days you can gain free entry by donating such things as cans of food, school supplies and even a pint of blood. There are the usual discounts for seniors, veterans and active military. You can also buy slightly discounted tickets at Ralph’s grocery stores or Costco and save yourself waiting in line at the fair’s ticket booth. Parking will set you back $15 per car but we noticed a special section for Lyft drop off and pick up, as well as suggestions for riding the Metrolink Train.

This Fairplex in Pomona has been in use for The LA County Fair since 1922, except for five years in the 1940’s when the property was used by the US Army. The fair actually evolved from a commercial-industrial show first held along the Southern Pacific railroad in downtown Pomona in 1921. It was so successful that the businessmen who produced the show held the first Los Angeles County Fair in October 1922 and the rest is history! Visit the LA County Fair before it’s gone for another year. #daretofair

By Trish Procetto

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