Besides giving us a blessed three days off, Labor Day weekend brought the opening of the L.A. County Fair. I love the fair, always have. I love the looks on city faces when they realize how big a pig really is. I love the pointlessness of putting everything on a stick, of deep frying everything you can imagine (even Pepsi). So on Labor Day weekend I embarked on my yearly journey, broke friends in tow, to take advantage of the awesome first-weekend discounts — entrance was only a dollar before 1 p.m., and prices for drinks and rides were knocked down as well.
We made the necessary pilgrimage to Dr. Bob’s Ice Cream, and we watched the animals. The heat was sucking the life out of everyone, people and sheep included, so the farm animals were a bit low-key. As for the pig racing, there were simply too many people in attendance for me to take a picture, let alone see the racers. Apparently Southern Californians go crazy for pigs in tutus running around a track.
After a few races we headed over to the Wine and Spirits Marketplace, which over the last few years has become quite a nice scene. In addition to traditional wine tasting, there are also beer and olive oil tastings. Flights are cheap — five wine tastings for $11 — and water and crackers are free flowing while you’re drinking. We enjoyed our flight, and we particularly appreciated Cal Poly Pomona’s 2008 Inaugural Vintage. The program is getting a big hand from one of its own, Cal Poly professor Dr. Bob Small, the same Dr. Bob who makes my favorite ice cream. He just keeps getting better and better. On the beer-tasting front we found a new love, Dale’s Black Beer from Upland, which took home the gold in the American-Style Dark Lager division.
We finished off our night with some rides and fair food — including the treat that won “Most Innovative” last year: chocolate-covered bacon. Surprisingly delicious, the strips of bacon were frozen and dipped, and they tasted shockingly like toffee. I’m not going to disuade you from trying it for yourself.
L.A. County Fair
September 5 – October 4
Closed Mon. & Tues.
For tickets and details: lacountyfair.com