Usually when you hear “100” e “Los Angeles County Fair” in the same sentence, it’s about how hot it gets. On the opening day of 2019, the mercury reached 110 degrees. It’s almost hot enough to fry a turkey leg, and definitely hot enough to burn a human leg.
This year the fair reaches 100 in a fun way. Founded in 1922, it is 100 years old. Happy Anniversary!
But this is not your great-grandfather’s fair. After 99 years in September, the fair has moved to May. That opens on Thursdaywhen a maximum of 86 is expected, and ends on May 30, when your guess is as good as mine.
Why the switch? Climate change. How fair attendees can attest is true.
September temperatures have been staggering in recent years. In 2019, the average daily temperature during the first three weeks of the fair was 93 degrees. And for an event that takes place almost entirely outdoors on asphalt, that’s bad.
People started showing up late in the afternoon and evening to escape the heat of the early afternoon. That shouldn’t be a problem in May, unless the fair brings some warm weather.
The schedule will be from 11:00 to 23:00 instead of changing depending on the day, as before. “It’s easy for people to remember,” said Renee Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the show. And due to the weather, the old patterns of attendance can be reaffirmed.
“Now that it’s May, we’re thinking we’ll see more people come during the day. At 3pm we saw a slight crowd. We think we’ll be constantly busy all day, “says Hernandez.
The hope is to reach or exceed the 2019 attendance of 1.1 million visitors.
It will last 17 days in total, from Thursday to Sunday for four weeks, in addition to Memorial Day as an extra at the end. Mother’s Day at the fair? It’s real.
In recent years the fair has reduced its hours from seven days to five. This year is four days. This is only one day more than 3 Day Suit Broker.
Blame the pandemic.
“We knew we were doing four days instead of five because we were back at the fair after two years closed,” Hernandez told me during a tour on Monday. “We have a much smaller staff than we had before the pandemic.”
Full-time fixed staff has been reduced from 130 to 45, increased of course by seasonal hiring for the fair. Everyone is juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. (I hope the fair has real jugglers as well.)
Much of the fair was still in the concept phase on Monday morning, with the set-up in full swing, but everything will be ready by Thursday. In other words, I heard about the fair but I had to use my imagination for much of it.
The Flower and Garden Pavilion was largely ready. Not the flowers and gardens of the same name, but their settings.
When I entered, I was greeted by a billboard-type “Welcome” screen made of oranges, lemons, and limes. Its centerpiece is the classic mascot of the fair, Thummer the pig. Wow!
Now that, my friends, it’s the LA County Fair we know and love.
The rest of the building pays homage to fairs from past decades. There are tributes to past themes of flowers and gardens in Mexico, China and Venice. Italy, not California, or otherwise, the tribute would include tech workers walking in front of homeless people.
Highlights from several prominent trade fairs from the last century include the exhibition of 50s “modern life” homes and the giant slide.
A cut of a redwood trunk uses ropes and tree rings to mark notable moments in the fair’s history, such as the premieres of the Model Garden Railroad, the National Museum of the Hot Rod Association, and the monorail.
“It represents 100 years of what happened at the fair,” says Marcus Pollitz, the exhibition’s designer.
Speaking of the anniversary, the theme of the fair is “Back to our roots”, which will be developed in a small and large way.
Vintage snapshots submitted by trade fair attendees will be projected in a loop inside the Millard Sheets Art Center. Two missing food stalls will return: Piggly Wiggly and Australian Battered Potatoes.
(Coincidentally, a couple of hours after my tour, a Pomona librarian volunteered to miss Piggly Wiggly, and I could share the latest news that she would be back. I like to make librarians happy).
Young-raised animals in the 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs will return for the first time in 15 years. Cal Poly Pomona will also provide animals for viewing and for an animal zoo. In recent years he has been bringing animals to a traveling exhibition company.
“Since it’s our centenary, we thought it was important to reconnect with ag,” says Hernandez. “Our mission will be, how do we maintain this in a 21st century world?”
In another callback, the band War will start the concert series on Thursday along with El Chicano. I don’t know how many times War has touched the fair, but it should be about 10 out of every 100 years.
There will also be new things, like NextFestLA, in which rising bands and DJs will perform. It’s kind of an antidote to the Boomers ’acts of nostalgia that fill many of the podium quotes.
A sample of lowrider vehicles will take place during the fair. On the weekends there will be a poetry slam written by the laureate poet of Pomona, David Judah Oliver. (This is my chance to ask if there is anything that rhymes with “Pomona”).
And the Millard Sheets Art Center will celebrate the centenary in part by highlighting some of the diversity that the fair lacked in its first century.
Speaking of which, a different culture will be celebrated each weekend, in order: Latin American Heritage (May 7-8), African American Heritage (May 14-15), Asia-American Pacific Islander Weekend (May 21-22), and Finally, Proud Weekend (May 28-29) for our LGBTQ friends.
Look for some dispatches from me during the development of the fair, as well as a personal appearance (more on that soon).
As an annual visitor since 1998, I am pleased that the LA County Fair is back physically after a two-year absence.
After a period of drift, does the fair return spiritually? Too early to tell, but the first signs are encouraging.
David Allen writes on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays in a discouraging way. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @ davidallen909 on Twitter.
LA County Fair looks back and looks forward at 100 – Press Telegram Source link LA County Fair looks back and looks forward at 100 – Press Telegram