Los Angeles County Fair - September 2005 trip report
We made it to the fair this past Saturday, and while the start and end were less than stellar, we had a good time during all the middle part. We usually get there in the morning, but we ended up getting there in the mid-afternoon this time. We decided to pay extra for the VIP parking so that I wouldn't have to deal with the longer walk from the parking lot, but the parking people were in such disarray that it was really difficult to figure out where the VIP parking was. They changed the way the parking was done - in the past, you drove through the parking entrance and then were on your way to your parking section. This time, they made you go all the way around the entire parking area, and then there was no one to direct you. We eventually found our way to the right section - only to discover that they apparently don't pay attention to how many VIP tickets they sell versus how many VIP parking spaces there are. We drove around for a while before finding an open space.
Upon entering the fair, we headed over to the livestock area since that closes earlier than the rest of the fair. The bunnies were fun to look at, but there were much fewer of them than on our last visit. The really big bunnies weren't even there at all. There were a lot of chickens, but chickens don't do much for me, to look at, anyway. I did get to pet a toddler chick though. They had a number of big pens with various animals in them. One pen had a couple cows and one baby. Another pen had a few pigs and lots of piglets - so cute. Another pen had a whole bunch of goats and their kids - so incredibly cute. We watched the animals for a while.
We walked through all the sale pavilions and found some good buys. The little stuff - the Garlic Festival Store had a booth, and I'd just thrown out my 15-year-old jars, so I was able to buy new ones to replace them. I found one booth where they sold pre-packaged dip mixes (just add sour cream) and found a few I like, so I bought a few packages of those. We stopped at a booth that had dryer balls (PVCish balls that you put in the dryer instead of sheets or liquids to make your laundry softer) and listened to the girl talk for a while, and we ended up buying a set. At 2 for $20, it wasn't that expensive, so we decided to give it a try. I was amazed when she pointed out that some of the dryer sheets say that they shouldn't be used with fire retardant materials because they make those materials less fire retardant. Parents so careful to buy fire retardant sleepwear for their kids, and they shouldn't/can't use the fabric softeners. At one point, we sat at one of the end-cap presentations to rest for a while and ended up liking what we heard and saw, so we bought some cookware. I think I've heard the same presentation a few times before, and it finally sunk in. Not what I'd been expecting to buy at the fair, but I'm looking forward to getting our stuff and trying them out.
I've always found it interesting to browse various booths, and to see which poor souls sat at their booths with very few people visiting them. We saw a cabinet-making retailer that was based close to our house, and we loved what we saw of their headboards and curio cabinets, so we took a card for future reference. I happened to look at one jeweler's wares, and my husband found some earrings that were an amazing match for my anniversary ring, but neither of us were comfortable spending that kind of money (no idea how much they were, but we saw a price tag on earrings that were close by) at a vendor at the fair. If I ever see those earrings in a store where I feel comfortable, I'd seriously think about it. There was one mop that seemed to be quite popular as there were a lot of people gathered for the demonstration, and I saw a lot of people who carried the mop they had bought. I was glad that all of our purchases were either small to carry or were being shipped to us. I saw a lot of people carrying large items that they'd purchased or plush that they'd won. Many people were using strollers as merchandise holders.
For dinner, we decided to have pastrami sandwiches, roasted corn and lemonade. Not too bad for fair food. I saw the booths with the deep fried oreos and twinkies, and even a booth that had pork chop on a stick - only at the fair. I found that when you walk around and see all the signs for all the food you can buy and smell them everywhere, it makes you less hungry as time goes on. Oh, and we shared one of those big dill pickles as a snack later in the evening. I love that stuff.
We'd noticed that some of the stuff had been moved around from where they were normally situated. We always like to see the baking competition and table decorating stuff - they're just fun to look at. But they weren't in their normal locations. We went to the home and garden center, and the husband browsed around the wines some, noticing that in the "wines of the world" section, they had wines from the mid-west...
As we were leaving there, we stood for a while to watch someone who had paid to do the bungee jumping off a really tall crane. She apparently took some convincing because we stood and waited for a while. Eventually, she did it. Couldn't...pay..me..ENOUGH.
We found out that the exhibits we were looking for had been moved to the building below the grandstand. We'd noticed earlier that the fair was open to midnight, so we had a lot of time, even though we didn't get there until afternoon. I don't think we'd ever noticed their closing time before because we'd usually be there from opening until about 5pm and then leave to go elsewhere for dinner. We got to the building and saw a couple of exhibits but then were disappointed to find out that the building closed at 11pm, so we saw very little of that section that we wanted to see. Oh, well, mental note for next time.
We hadn't been interested in who was giving a concert that night, so we didn't go to that, and we didn't care about the fireworks, so we were inside one of the buildings for that. We could hear the fireworks go off, though, and it sounded like a very short show.
It was rather nice being there in the evening, so that we didn't have to spend too much time in the hot sun.
All in all, we had a very good time. Our last visit was about 4 years ago, and we hadn't been planning on going back next year, but we might just.
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