Deep-fried, BBQ and Chocolate, oh my!

One of the things my family and friends always ask me before the Fair gets here is what unusual food will you guys have this year? Guests have said in a survey that food is the number one reason for coming to the Fair. Gooey food, frozen food, food on a stick, ginormous food, food covered in batter and fried, food covered in chocolate. FOOD! It’s a phenomenon all its own here at the L.A. County Fair. Perennial favorites are Hot Dog on a Stick (there I go again!), giant turkey legs, BBQ, 10-lb buns (oh yeah!). Then there are those of the sweet variety – deep-fried Oreos, Twinkies and Snickers, frozen chocolate-covered cheesecake with crushed Oreos on a stick (to diiiiiie for! But, really, you can only have one in an 18-day period, two max, ok – three but that’s pushing diabetic coma) and Texas-sized doughnuts. There truly is something for every palate, even for the health-conscious.

New this year is the world’s largest waffle cone filled with gelato – the Colossal Gelato. A 16-inch cone is filled with two pints of gelato – enough for an entire family to share (or not). Also new is CBS Cupcakes which will offer muffin-sized cupcakes – Red Velvet, chocolate and vanilla flavored – that will be frosted per order with a choice of three frostings and eight different toppings.

Fair food king Chicken Charlie Boghos is cookin’ up some fun things for 2008. He started the Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich craze and last year had the deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich in honor of the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death. This year he is serving Deep-Fried Spam with pineapples and bringing back the popular Deep-Fried Frog Legs and Deep-Fried Avocados. Charlie will also have a new food stand serving chicken and waffles, perfected with Charlie’s own rotisserie chicken and homemade, family recipe waffles. It is here that he’ll serve Deep-Fried White Castles (you know, those little hamburgers), which he thinks will be the next big hit.

 

How ‘bout BBQ at its most extreme? Juicys Food’s Outlaw Grill, one of the largest grills in the world, debuts as the L.A. County Fair this year. Built on the back of a Peterbuilt 379 with an oven/smoker that holds 700 turkey legs, 100 briskets and pork butts, a hydraulically powered 38-foot grill that can cook 1,500 turkey legs and gas burners for pots of beans and side dishes – you have to see this to believe it!

 

Last year we sold: 25,000 funnel cakes; 700 lbs of popcorn; 33,000 lbs of potatoes; 500 lbs of rattlesnake bites (Eastern Diamondback variety); 27,000 lbs of lemons; and 103,000 Hot Dogs on a Stick (see I’m not the only one who likes ‘em!). Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

 

So, for one day, let your love of classic American fair food take flight! Ninety-nine days until the Fair – see you at the Hot Dog on a Stick stand, Chicken Charlie’s stand, 10-lb. Buns stand, Frozen Cheesecake stand…

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The Countdown Begins

There are 101 days left until opening day of the L.A. County Fair – but who’s counting? Well, we are actually! While a countdown to the big day creates some anxiety, at a certain point we all start doing it. Pretty soon our Web site will have a daily counter (which really drives us crazy, seeing it right before our eyes!). So, since we are counting down, we should make it worthwhile and remind ourselves what we are counting down to:

 

  • Hot Dog on a Stick
  • Giant slide
  • 72 totally excellent rides
  • 2 kiddie carnivals
  • Hot Dog on a Stick
  • A luscious Flower & Garden Pavilion featuring Escape to Hawaii
  • An erupting volcano! How cool is that! (This is so Krakatoa of us!)
  • Watusi cattle – these always amaze me, cattle with huge horns – up to seven feet in length. They look like Tim Curry’s character in the movie “Legend.”
  • Hot Dog on a Stick (can you tell I love these?)
  • A gallery exhibit dedicated to the horse in art
  • America’s Kids’ “Wild Things” Backyard Fun exhibit

 

 

 There is so much. I’ll keep adding to my list.

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Hot September Nights

“Ba de ya – say do you remember, ba de ya – dancing in September, ba de ya – never was a cloudy day!” Ah, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire could almost be our theme song here at the LA County Fair. And both times the legendary R&B band rocked the Fair’s End of Summer Concert Series, the stands were bursting. The series is one of the most anticipated events of the Fair, where you can see some of the finest names in entertainment just for the price of a Fair ticket (reserved, box and stage-side seating are available, too, for an additional cost). The lineup for 2008 will be announced soon, but fans of the End of Summer Concert Series can join the EOSCS Club now. For $15, you’ll get a T-shirt, updates on who is playing and a pre-sale ticket code, allowing you to purchase tickets before the general public.

If you’ve been to one of the concerts, you know they’re fantastic. If you haven’t, go! Our lineup always has something for every musical taste and even some exciting non-musical options like monster trucks and motocross.

All shows are staged in the infield of Fairplex Park, with seating in the box seats and the grandstand. And the sound is really great. Last year the B-52’s totally rocked, playing hits like “Rock Lobster” and “Love Shack.” Here’s a fan’s video of “Strobe Light.”

 

Previous acts include Heart, Rihanna, Pat Benatar, Al Green, Toby Keith, Mariachi USA Fiesta. Hall & Oates were here a couple years ago – totally awesome. And guitar virtuoso Peter Frampton majorly rocked the Fair.

 

So, for now, join the club, get your cool T-shirt and updates on our concerts. The lineup will be announced soon. See you in the rockin’ grandstands!

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Bow wow and a little Yo Ho Ho

I told you about some of the creative minds we have here, so now let me share some of what they’re working on for this year’s Fair. In-house we’ve been getting daily updates on what the 2008 Fair has in store. Now let me whet your appetites. Upstairs here in the MarCom department we arrrrrgh so excited about A Pirate’s Life – one of the new attractions for ’08. A Pirate’s Life will have everything Pirate including a pirate show, Cap’N Calico Jack’s Pirate Academy, Ship Wreck Reef where you can dig for treasures, and special fun planned for Sept. 19 – Talk Like a Pirate Day. I’ve always wanted “scurvy dog” as part of my everyday patois. So bring your buccaneers of all ages and hop aboard.

 As an animal lover, I am really thrilled about this – Bark Park. Bark Park (the entryway is flanked by two giant fire hydrants – a dog’s dream!) is the one-stop shop for all things canine – and we mean all things! There’s spa treatments, aromatherapy, gourmet doggy treats, massages, “pawdicures,” and the finest in canine couture. Essentially, everything for your muttrosexual. Oh yeah, and custom designed dog houses (I feel like I want to say that like Oprah when she really gets into something and her voice goes deep – fabulous dawwwwg howwwsesss!). These aren’t just Rover-sleep-over dog houses – these are go-to-the-special-doggy-design-center-pick-your-favorite-granite-water-bowl abodes. We’re talking mission design, southern plantation, English countryside.

But in addition to the special treats, Bark Park is also charged with a very important mission – publicizing the plight of the thousands of homeless animals in shelters who need loving, caring homes. And this is a great thing. My husband and I adopted our beloved dog, Fiona, from the Inland Valley Human Society soon after we married nearly 15 years ago. It was a wonderful experience for us; she was an amazing member of our family. Fiona is now in doggy heaven, but she made a great impact on our lives, and we feel strongly about providing a home for one of the thousands of loving animals in shelters awaiting warm, comfortable homes. Bark Park will feature local shelters, who will offer adoptions. I can see it now – “Oh, hubby dear, can I talk to you over here by this cute, curly-haired pooch?”

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Welcome

Hi everyone out there in the world of blogging! Let me be the first (ok… maybe the 2nd) to welcome you to the very first L.A. County Fair blog and to congratulate you on being in the loop with all the latest and greatest Fair news. Let me introduce myself… I’m Amy or to all of you, Fair-e-crafty…get it? Sounds like very crafty.

Every year our AMAZING Team puts together the most spectacular Fair I have ever seen and this year is no different.  For 2008 we have so many new attractions and competitions that you can almost taste the excitement.

Speaking of tasting things…. I must admit that one of my favorite things about the Fair is the food! But did you know that not only can you eat all of the marvelous Fair food during your visits, but you can watch and/or compete in our many contests and competitions in Culinary Styles??  I know… I’ve just opened another door to the wonders of the Fair… no need to thank me… it’s my pleasure!

Culinary Styles and Tapestry are both located in The Village on Broadway.  This marvelous neighborhood houses a huge portion of the Fair’s contests and competitions. Here the world is your oyster! You can spend an hour or even a day exploring the many wonders of the creative mind!

Have you ever wondered how people get the opportunity to display their fabulous works of art in The Village on Broadway?? It’s through our competitions, so log on to lacountyfair.com and view them all.  

So strap on your creative cap and join us in some of the Fair’s most fabulous competitions!  I’ll see you there!    

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Creative Minds in Action

I know it’s only May, but preparations for each new Fair begin as soon as the Ferris Wheel makes its last revolution on the previous Fair’s final day. And for some departments, the wheels of creativity start spinning two years in advance. Our creative development department is responsible for the great exhibits, contests, competitions and awesome programming that entertain guests each year. Creative Development Director Kathy Wadham is like a walking Martha Stewart-HGTV-Rachael Ray-Farmer Joe cyclone all in one. There isn’t anything she can’t sew, paint, create, round-up or plant.  Kathy started down the path to creative diva as a young mom, with two kids in tow, and eventually captured the attention of the imaginative minds at Disney. Kathy has surrounded herself with an equally talented staff that can also sew, paint, create, round-up or plant just about anything. Designer Michael Converse once drew an amazing depiction of a spinosaurus gnawing on an herbivore for my dinosaur-loving son, all with a few quick strokes of a Bic pen. A Bic pen! Prior to joining the Fair as creative designer, Michael was creative director for Dinamation, makers of animated robotic dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. And before that he was an architectural illustrator. He said from a young age, he was always drawing – drawing, drawing, drawing (hear that you young artists? Practice, practice, practice). You get to see Michael’s creations in 3-D during the Fair. Rendering of Space Exhibit

Beth Richards can take a plain table and transform it into a wonderland of shape, texture and style. With an aesthetic sense and whimsical touch that always please the eye, Beth can conceive the most elegant tablescaping scene using green apples, various plates found in our basement and a straw basket.

And Sky Shivers – wow! With his Oklahoma drawl and tumbleweed mustache, Sky is a captivating presence at FairView Farms. He oversees all the animals at FVF and is a wealth of knowledge and a well of incredible stories. Raised among the blood-thirsty chiggers and persimmon thickets on the southern end of the Sooner state, Sky is billed as a western humorist/cowboy storyteller but he’s actually an agricultural lesson dressed in scrubby blue jeans and a straw hat. Who else do you know who gathered the “ol’ wife” and little daughters and took them on the ride of their lives – 11 months across part of America in a horse-drawn wagon train?  Sky regales visitors with the triumphs and trials of animals, Mother Nature, being a cowboy. Let him draw you over to his side of the fence for a whole ‘nother look at creation.

So, see, we’re not just pretty faces here at the L.A. County Fair. We back it up with some good creds. What “creations” of recent Fairs or Fairs of the past are your faves?

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Welcome to the new L.A. County Fair Blog

Hey there! Welcome to the place for everything L.A. County Fair. My name’s Renee, also known as the Fair-ey Blogster (stop laughing). I’m a writer in the marketing and communications department of the Fair, but more than that I am a HUGE fan of the Fair – always have been. As a native of the Inland Valley, the Fair is like my own mini-Happiest Place on Earth, something to really look forward to at the end of every summer. Now that I work here, I’m amazed (still!) at what goes into putting this 18-day extravaganza together each year. This new blog offers you a pipeline to all the behind the scenes frenzy and a constant 411 on what awaits you at the largest county fair in the country.

 To start off, I want to remind all you artists, photogs, cooks, potters and quilters of all ages that the deadlines for entries into our vast array of contests and competitions are coming up. One of the best parts of the Fair is having the opportunity to display your work/craft and possibly win a blue ribbon for thousands to see. Since I started seven fairs ago, I’ve written about and photographed some great events – the annual SPAM competition, kids’ cooking contests and amazing handmade quilts. The deadline for the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts photography competition is May 16, so I hope you got your stuff in. The center is planning another photo competition – Paw Prints – featuring your best photos of your dog, or any dog. That competition is in conjunction with our Bark Park feature (all things dog).  For the kids competitions, the deadline is Aug. 1, and we have so many cool things for kids to enter this year – decorate a butterfly, design a sock monster (put those stinky gym socks to good use!) or write a great story about your personal backyard adventure. Check it out – lacountyfair.com. In the Village on Broadway, the culinary and arts & cr division of the Fair, there is cultural cooking, all-American pie, quilting, pottery, and my favorite – the best chocolate chip cookie. The deadline for Village on Broadway entries is Aug. 8 – lacountyfair.com. The Fair runs Sept. 5-28. We’re closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

So, if you haven’t done so already, think about entering your creative talents into the L.A. County Fair. Wait – don’t think about it – Just Do It!
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