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California State Fair

August, 2003

State Fair.
1. Kids at the Fair
Three cows.
2. Three cows
A children's ride.
3. Amusement ride
4. Horse racing

The California State Fair is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. It started as a way for farmers to display their prize livestock and produce, and continues to do the same to this day. It has grown to include a wide variety of other activities, but continues to focus on agriculture. We went to the Fair with our newlywed friends, Torgard and Min Young. The fairgrounds cover a huge area, and we did not begin to see or do everything. In the end, we had a long, tiring, and fun day at the Fair.

A major activity at the Fair is the competition to show the best animals. There were large numbers of animals in barns covering a huge area of the fairgrounds, including milk cows (photo #2), goats, sheep, hogs, etc. On the day we visited the Fair, we saw mostly cows and goats. The competitions, and the animals, are different each week. There are also many exhibitions. We saw a formal dressage demonstration, including this beautiful horse.

One of the best parts of the Fair is the opportunity it provides for children, (photo #1) to see farm animals up close. The kids can watch all the livestock competitions, and can even interact with the animals up close. The University of California sponsors an exhibit that provides a chance for kids to milk a cow or goat. The petting zoo brings the children and animals together for a very intimate encounter. For children who grow up in the city and never see these animals, this can be a marvelous experience.

There are many other things going on at the State Fair. Each California county erects a display to show off some aspect of the county's history or industry. They compete with one another to produce the best display. The county displays are judged, and the best displays receive awards. Many businesses come to the Fair to sell their products. Some move around the country, from fair to fair, pitching their products to anyone who will listen. And, of course, it wouldn't be the State Fair without the food. There are food vendors everywhere throughout the fairgrounds. The foods tend to be high fat, high protein, generally unhealthy, and great tasting.

There are a variety of amusement ride at the Fair, including the swan boats. But for the more adventurous, the main attraction is the carnival. This year they installed the largest portable ferris wheel in the USA. The rides range from very tame rides for the small children to truly frightening rides for the teen-agers and adults. We stayed away from the rides, but Torgard and Min Young were more brave. And, finally, the most exciting rides of all are the thouroughbred horse races (photo #4), where you can win, or lose, a lot of money. (We didn't.)

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Jim and Jamie Richter, http://gotouring.com/razzledazzle/
Website designed and created by Lois Richter, expanded by Jim.
Created 8/2003. All photos are © 2003 by Jim Richter.