Mardi Gras at LACF!

LA County Fair Mardi Gras

We took you behind-the-scenes of Mardi Gras at our Flower & Garden Pavilion, and now it’s time to reveal the finished product! Take a look at our very own Bourbon Street…

You’re greeted by an array of giant, glittering Mardi Gras masks, surrounded by equally colorful roses and carnations, as you walk up the path to the Pavilion.

Mardi Gras LA County Fair

Once inside, the sounds of old time jazz and brass bands fill the air as your eyes are greeted by a dazzling display of flora & fauna, and enough decor to have you believing you’ve been transported straight to the French Corridor.

First to catch your eye are the King & Queen of Mardi Gras, holding court as they oversee their kingdom of orchids, roses and carnations.

Two proud peacocks show off their jeweled feathers atop their pedestals. Turn around and you’ll see a waterfall cascading in hues of purple and green, staying true to the traditional Mardi Gras colors.

If you look to the right or the left of the waterfall, you’ll see displays paying homage to jazz greats, like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.

Other beautiful displays are tucked into grottos lining the sides of the Pavilion. A New Orleans cafe (by the way, you can buy beignets at the Fair!), a beautiful display of King Cakes (Sir Blogsalot gave the low-down on how those work here), and bejeweled frames, flower pots and masks.

LA County Fair Mardi Gras

We haven’t even looked outside yet, but we heard rumors that the Atrium has transformed into a bayou of animals, plants and reptiles galore. Stay tuned for when we hit that one!

Have you checked out the Flower & Garden Pavilion this year? What did you think? Tell us in the comments below! 

 

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A Closer Look Into The Mardi Gras Theme

MARDI GRAS IS COMING TO LA COUNTY FAIR!

We know everyone loves a good party, so you are all cordially invited to this year’s Mardi Gras celebration at the one and only Flower & Garden Pavilion!

This morning I met with Jim Hynd, our Floral Coordinator, and he not only gave me a tour of the building, but he also taught me a lot about what Mardi Gras actually is.

Here are a few of the things I learned from Jim:

  • Mardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday” in French. This is very fitting since the holiday is for celebrating and eating A LOT!
  • New Orleans is known as the birthplace of Jazz. Therefore, Jazz has been embedded in the Mardi Gras theme.
  • Mardi Gras is celebrated on the days leading up to Ash Wednesday – which is the beginning of Lent.
  • New Orleans has the biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States.
  • During this party, people host and attend countless number of parades & balls.
  • You always need a King and Queen! Think back to when you were in high school and had to vote for a Homecoming King & Queen.
  • The “official” colors for Mardi Gras are purple, gold and green. However, many people like to add red, yellow and blue.
  • Colorful beaded necklaces are an absolute must! This is why you’ll see hundreds of these at our Flower and Garden Pavilion.
  • Last but not least, let’s talk about FOOD! During this historical celebration, King Cakes are baked and stuffed with small plastic baby figurines. Seems pretty unusual, right? Well, there is a purpose to all of the madness…those who get the slice of cake with the baby are responsible for baking/purchasing the next cake!

After seeing what we have in store for you, we hope you are just as excited as we are! We guarantee that this will be one mind bending experience!

Have you ever been to a Mardi Gras celebration?
What are you most excited to see at this year’s Fair?

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The Countdown Begins…9 More Days!

With only 9 days to go until Opening Day, there is no denying it…things are definitely busy here on the grounds.

From crack of dawn to the break of day, there is always someone working on something that will make your experience more memorable – whether it may be painting some signs, installing lighting, bringing in the Farm animals or taking pictures of what is happening on our grounds, our staff is working at a nearly 24/7 pace now.

Speaking of pictures, here are a few taken during my afternoon walk. Hope you enjoy them!


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LACF in 40 Seconds

With so much construction going on this week, we did a walk-through of LACF to see what pre-Fair activities were happening. We stopped by our DIY Design Studio, the Flower & Garden Pavilion (this year’s theme is Mardi Gras), Luminasia and the Millard Sheets Art Center! Check out what our camera captured!

Our grounds will soon be transformed into what the 2015 LACF will be, so stay tuned for more Fair updates!

LACF is right around the corner!
What will be the FIRST thing you will do while at LACF?

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Last Chance to #discoverLACF

With only one day left to visit LACF, I decided it was time to go on the grounds and talk to some guests about their top four things to do while at the Fair— also known as LACF’s Fantastic Four. Ready to have some fun? I hope so, because we are about to go over some of fair-comers’ all-time favorite things to enjoy.

4. The Farm: Our farm was recently expanded to 5 acres, which means we have a lot more things for you to enjoy! In addition to petting over 150 animals and learning how ice cream and butter are made, you could cheer pigs as they race to the finish line, learn about Zonkeys and Zorses, or catch a live birth. I’m not lying about the live births…just watch this!

3. Flower & Garden Pavilion: Can you think of anything at LACF that smells better than our Flower & Garden Pavilion? Didn’t think so. This year’s flowers and plants are absolutely breathtaking and unique. See for yourself.

2. Shopping: LACF is home to the largest shopping place in the West, hosting more than 1,000 booth spaces and offering tens of thousands of items. No wonder more than 75 percent of Fair attendees come to shop while at LACF. From everyday home appliances to automobiles and spas, we have it all.

1. Luminasia and Mojo’s Lagoon: This brand new and unique Chinese lantern exhibit features thousands of lights in an extraordinary display of engineering and larger than life characters. As you walk through the exhibit you will see dragons, pagodas, coral reefs, a replica of the Statue of Liberty, and so much more! If you need something to do before Luminasia opens its doors at 6 p.m., you could very well stop by Mojo’s Wild and Crazy Lagoon. Some of the exotic animals you will see include but are not limited to crocodiles, camels, zebras, hedgehogs, monkeys and snakes. Definitely worth the time and seeing your child smile.

Remember to use #discoverLACF when you stop by the Fair in the next few hours or tomorrow. Happy last two days!

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Cater to your green thumb at Flower & Garden workshops this weekend

From tropical plumarias to propagating cacti, you can learn so much by dropping by the Flower & Garden Pavilion’s Atrium.

In keeping with this year’s celebration of Mexico’s 200th anniversary of independence, the appropriately named Casa Flores Stage has Susan Ayala, AIFD, presenting various floral workshops. “Creating Simple Floral Designs” will be discussed at 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, and Sunday at 4 p.m. “How to Care for Your Flowers – A Floral Presentation” will be offered at 4 p.m. Saturday and at 2 and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

El Verde Pulgar – The Green Thumb Stage features a variety of gardening workshops. Members of The Cactus Society will explain “The Basics of Cacti” at 1 and 5 p.m. and “Cactus and Succulents Propagation” at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Also, The Los Angeles International Fern Society will have a workshop about Staghorn Ferns at 6 p.m.

Sunday’s workshops on the El Verde Pulgar Stage include “Growing Herbs and How to Use Them” presented by master gardener Kathleen Jones at 1 and 3 p.m. Mike Gordon will discuss “Pruning Roses and Fruit Trees” at 2 p.m. and “Growing Plumarias in Southern California” at 4 p.m. “Creating a Living Art, Bonsai” will be discussed by members of The Bonsai Gardens.

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No GPS Needed to Navigate Our Fair

When you visit the L.A. County Fair this year, you’ll notice something is a little different. Actually, a LOT of things are different! We’ve been building, moving, grading, shifting and lifting many things around the grounds to make all areas of the Fair easier for our guests to navigate. We are shaping up beautifully and I think you are going to love the results! It’s like we went to a 12-month Day Spa and came back refreshed and ready to greet our more than one million guests.

The first big change you’ll notice is the carnival has moved a bit southeast. It will be located closer to the center of the fairgrounds, in between the Flower & Garden Pavilion and the grandstand. The Grandstand Pavilion shopping area and the bbqs and spas have moved to make way for the carnival. The fabulous Ray Cammack Shows carnival will be back again for its 26th year with all the great rides, games and food you’ve come to enjoy – just in a new locale!

For all you shopaholics like me, we’ve located all the shopping in one convenient spot – the Shopping Place. This isn’t completely new. The Shopping Place has always been located in the shopping buildings. But now ALL products and vendors will be in that neighborhood, including along the thoroughfares between the buildings. There will be the Shopping Shuttle Express, presented by Jeffrey Scott Fine Magnetics, that will take shoppers from Yellow Gate and back. The Grandstand Pavilion was removed to make way for the carnival, so all vendors who were in the pavilion are now at the Shopping Place.

The Sunset Cabana is gone, replaced by Outdoor Living, were all the spas and bbqs will be located. This is located on Broadway, near the clock tower.

A Pirate’s Life has moved to behind the Shopping Place, near Red Gate. Esmeralda’s Traveling Circus, a new attraction, will be on Redwood Street. Behind the circus will be the new Gypsy Camp, near the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Red Gate entrance. The camp will be full of unusual and strange sights to behold!

See? Lots of new things in new settings. I know you will love it! Forty-four days!

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Bloomin’ Beautiful

flowersongroundsIf you are familiar with the L.A. County Fair or Fairplex, you are familiar with our resident horticulturist Don DeLano. Don is one of those amazingly creative talents we have working here at the Fair on a year-round basis. As the horticulturist, he oversees all the planting and upkeep of the flowers, trees, plants and gardens (including the fruit and vegetable gardens) we have here on our 543-acres. Don has graciously offered to share tidbits on some of the flora we have.

 

Today its Dombeya Wallichii, also known as the Tree Hydrangea or Tropical Hydrangea. Don says it is a fairly large growing tree that tries its best to be a giant shrub, with branches cascading to the ground.  Flowering in the spring is Southern California, it is safely grown in areas that are protected from flowers-on-grounds-march-2009-001heavy frost.  Due to its habit of flowering very early in the spring, it is susceptible to late frost which can cause heavy damage to the flowers and new foliage.  If you have a large area, it can really be a show stopper.  Care must be taken when pruning, as it’s flowers on new wood that is susceptible to frost.  There are two located on the Fairplex grounds, one in the grass area that separates the upper Administration parking lot from McKinley Avenue and the second one at the corner of the Sheraton west parking lot.

Pretty aren’t they? Stay tuned for more info and ideas from Don. And don’t forget to visit during the L.A. County Fair to see his fantastic work throughout the grounds but especially in the hillside behind the Flower & Garden Pavilion, which will take you on a Safari Adventure!

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Horticulture Heaven

We have a guest blogger today. Don Delano is Fairplex’s resident horticulturist. The plants, greenery, fruit orchards and flowers are in large part due to Don’s designing and truly green thumb. Don is extremely passionate about gardening and very interesting to chat with. Here is his update on what’s going on in preparation for Fairtime:

 

Well, the Landscaping Department is busy prepping, cultivating, ripping out and generally getting ready for the upcoming Fair.  In following with the Escape to Hawaii theme of the Flower & Garden Pavilion, one of our remodeled sections has been the area directly behind the garden area of the pavilion.  In place of the 15-foot Italian fountain from last year is emerging a lush Polynesian lagoon, complete with flowing waterfalls, flowering bananas and other tropical eye candies for our guests enjoyment. 

 

In the FairView Farms and Big Red Barn areas work is finally underway, having finished the last year- round events in those specific areas.  A new duck pond is under construction, and we will start soon on the goose enclosure.  It is a challenge to develop an interactive area that keeps the animals safe and healthy, yet allows us to view them going about their daily lives and activities.  I would never have believed that ducks can move rocks the size they do if I had not seen it with my own eyes. Industrious they are.  The gardens planting has begun and we have a bumper crop of Valencia oranges on the trees and a fairly large crop of almonds and English walnuts. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Don. Make sure you check out the area of FairView Farms where we grow California commodities lilke kiwi, tomatoes, cashews, corn, lettuce, persimmons, pistachios, raisins, artichokes, apples, peaches, prunes, avocados and more. Bet you didn’t know we grew all those, did you? See? You always find something interesting at the L.A. County Fair, which, by the way, is 53 days away.

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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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