September 18, 2014 | The LA County Fair, popularly known as the "Pomona Fair" in deference to its actual location, runs the entire month of September, and the usual suspects always go on "Senior Wednesday" when the admission is only $6 — or so we thought.
The Fair's website makes a big deal about needing a coupon printed from the website to get in at a reduced price, and just being the sort of person I am, a couple of weeks ago I printed out the required two coupons (because each is good for two admissions) and put them where I would surely be able to locate them again on the day we actually went. The day we were to actually go — in fact 15 minutes before we were to actually leave — I remembered the coupons and, true to form, could not find them. Therefore I went back to the site, found the coupon, and printed it out. Hastily grabbing the two printed sheets (without looking closely at them), we were out the door.
When we got to the fairgrounds I took a closer look: same big, color-consuming, time-consuming-to-print image at the top. But wait, the text was different!
Instead of saying "Senior Wednesdays - $6" the coupon now said "Senior Wednesdays - Free Admission," and instead of having a limit of two admissions per coupon, it now said "one(1) admission per coupon." Okay, fine. We'll just have to split one $6 admission.
But wait, there's more. When I arrived at the ticket window, she said that without the $6 coupon I had seen previously, the Senior Wednesday admission would be $10, the regular price for those 60+. Harrumph!
This year's fair was different in several dramatic ways. First off, arriving at 12:30pm (ticket booths open at 12n), we were shocked to find no line at the gate to the parking lot and no line at the ticket booth! ¿Que pasa?
I had decided not to take my camera for the trip but would instead try out the camera in my new smart phone. When I looked at the pictures this morning, I immediately saw that I am most skilled at taking pictures of my own fingers. Of the 36 photos, 8 include one or more fingers and 1 is just solid red. I have no idea how the latter happened. The other main discovery is that in sunlight you can't see crap — the screen turns into a mirror so all you can do is point and shoot, but not in a good way.
Inside the fairground, the place was utterly deserted. In contrast to the throngs of people in previous years, the streets were largely empty, and vendors were begging for customers (usually they just bark and customers come).
Then, as we went in search of our favorite attractions, we found that they had been replaced by more food booths and more carnival rides. The first thing we noticed missing was the row of stalls where the Budweiser Clydesdales usually hang out. Not to be found.
In the Farm area, the show ring where there used to be horse shows had disappeared entirely and was replaced by what amounts to a big garden. Eventually we found the Clydesdales along a new street cut across the race track. Horse racing has been moved to another venue. There may have been three people (besides us) on the whole length of street.
The displays of animals were notably reduced this year, and those that were on display were struggling with the heat. Some of the bunny rabbits had been given frozen water bottles, against which they gratefully snuggled. Animals without cooling stood or lay about with their mouths open panting, and chickens stood with their wings arched away from their bodies. It was beastly hot.
We did decide this time to ride on the aerial tram (like a chair lift at the ski slope) that glides along over the fairgrounds. It was actually quite interesting, because you could see behind the façades of the booths and rides. You could also see plainly that most of the carnival rides were bereft of riders.
We always have to walk through the buildings where vendors of all ilks have set up their booths. Bob, of course, immediately found something he was attracted to; he didn't actually buy anything, but Réal and I did threaten to take his credit card away! However, we did walk through only two of the buildings.
The other thing we always have to do is visit the flower exhibit, which this year had China as its theme. There were many absolutely gorgeous and unusual orchids, and tucked away in the rain forest part of the exhibit was a golden pheasant adorned in splendiferous colors and exotic patterns.
By this time we were all tuckered out and took refuge at the bar outside the wine and beer building. The bartender made us margaritas that were magnifico! — it was happy hour and they only cost us $9 each.
To be sure, by late afternoon more people showed up and the streets of the fair looked more like years past.
Our final foray of the afternoon was to the never-before-visited train museum. The museum consists of an old, old, old station transplanted to the fairgrounds and quite a few pieces of rolling stock: steam locomotives, baggage cars, a "horse express" car, a dining car, a caboose, etc. A very knowledgeable docent gave us a crash course in steam locomotives, after which we piled back in the car for the ride home.
Last updated on May 11, 2016