Fairplex, LA County Fair Celebrate the End of the “Coolest” Fair

May 30, 2024

The 102nd anniversary LA County Fair ended its coolest 16-day run on Monday, May 27, with some exciting attractions, lots of corn dogs sold, an increase in attendance, and perhaps the chilliest weather ever.

The Skate-R-Cade was totally rad, with guests rolling thousands of revolutions around the rink, and NextFest LA dropped the beat on four stages with the best indie bands, artists, and DJs in Southern California.An exhibition from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) brought a touch of culture to the fairgrounds. But the Fair trifecta – food, carnival and animals – was, as usual, tops on everyone’s list.

“The Fair is definitely the place to be,” said Walter Marquez, President and CEO of Fairplex, referring to the Fair’s attendance and excitement. “Guests are now acclimated to us being a May fair and, despite the cool weather we had this year, they are coming early and staying late. The Fair continues to be a tradition for so many, and an exciting new outlet of fun for those who’ve never been here before.”

Preliminary counts show that 787,843 guests came through the gates – up eight percent from 2023. Mild temperatures did not deter guests. There were a few nights, and some days, where it felt like sweater weather, but still made for congenial Fair days. The average temperature was 73 degrees for the 16 days. In September, 2019, the average temperature for the Fair was 86.4 degrees.

“We trended toward higher attendance almost each day of the Fair,” said John Landherr, Chairman of the Los Angeles County Fair Association Board of Directors. “I think that is due to the fact that we are bringing in new programming targeted to all ages. At its heart, the Fair is a family-friendly event with a touch of the new.”

For the first time ever, the Fair hosted a roller skating rink in Expo Hall 9. In partnership with L.A.’s Grand Park Foundation’s All Skate for Alzheimer’s, fair guests enjoyed free skating and skate rental for a spin around the rink, complete with a DJ and disco ball. All Skate for Alzheimer’s promotes healthy exercise and mental health resources.

LACMA’s presentation of Mexican master Rufino Tamayo’s work from its collection, Rufino Tamayo: Innovation and Experimentation, is the second year that LACMA and the Fair have collaborated on a show in the Fair’s Millard Sheets Art Center. The exhibition focused on Tamayo’s longstanding interest in prints as a means of exploring new techniques and furthering experimentation.

From the NextFest LA music festival to the brightly decorated Flower and Garden Pavilion, entertainment and delectable dishes filled the fairgrounds from end to end. The Fair’s popular value meal returned, with food vendors offering meals or items at $9.50. New this year were Korean corn dogs, SPAM fries, smash tacos and the pickle split – a dill pickle topped with pineapple soft serve, chamoy and tajin.

Here’s what was eaten at the Fair:

From Chicken Charlie:

  • 15 pallets of French Fries
  • 5,000 ears of corn
  • 2,000 chicken kebabs
  • 10,000 chicken drumsticks
  • 3,000 chicken sandwiches

From Midway Gourmet Dominic Palmieri:

  • Used more than 1 mile of sliced bacon for Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly on a Stick
  • 2 miles of sausage on a stick used for Big Daddy Corn Dogs and Sausage Sandwiches
  • 3 tons of sugar to make cotton candy and lemonade
  • 1 grove of lemons to squeeze enough juice to make Squeezers Lemonade
  • 1 orchard of Granny Smith apples for caramel and candy apples
  • 1 field of corn to roast Sweet ‘n Juicy Corn
  • 1,000 lbs. of grated parmesan cheese for Roasted Corn at The Corn Shack
  • 700 lbs. of fresh chopped garlic of garlic fries at Biggys
  • 200 gallons of bbq sauce and hot sauce to sauce up Turkey Legs
  • 100 lbs. of Berry Capt. Crunch cereal for the Cape. Crunch Chicken Sandwich
  • 50 lbs. of cayenne pepper to make 50 gallons of Buttery Nashville Hot Sauce

Tasti Chips, a popular concession stand, celebrated its 50th anniversary by selling 25,000 lbs. of potatoes for all the delicious homemade chips. Ray Cammack Shows carnival returned to the Fair with more than 70 rides and 30 games, including a new ride Overdrive, which made its official debut the last week of the Fair.

The Fair’s wine education program served more than 20,000 individual 1 oz. tastings of wine. The program serves the gold medal winner from the Los Angeles International Wine Competition and conducts wine, spirits, extra virgin olive oil, and dairy classes for the public during the Fair.

The Fair partnered with local organizations to offer programming throughout the fairgrounds. The state 48th District Agricultural Association displayed entries on agriculture and nutrition from local schools and students. Cal Poly Pomona’s Huntley College of Agriculture provided animals for The Farm, filling the Big Red Barn with more than 200 animals for the petting zoo and presenting educational programming in the dairy, livestock, and show barns. Lots of four-legged babied were born at The Farm: two cows, 19 sheep, 24 goats, and nine pigs.

The livestock competitions in The Farm were once again a hit. Future Farmers of America, 4H students, and open classes came to show their goats, sheep, llamas, and more.

The Fair continued its tradition of giving back to the community. Guests donated nearly 95,000 cans of non-perishable food on three Food Drive Thursdays, one-quarter more than 2023. Donations will go to Inland Valley Hope Partners, LA Regional Food Bank, God’s Pantry, and the Pomona Unified School District’s Community Schools Initiative’s food pantry. Nearly 70 community organizations partnered with the Fair throughout its run for special events, such as the Girl Scouts Takeover Day, and those who provided information to guests at the Fair’s Community Corner, including several County of Los Angeles departments, local businesses, and veterans organizations. The FairKids Field Trip program returned this year with nearly 19,000 students and chaperones visiting the Fair on Thursdays and Fridays before it opened to the public, including during the new FairStars day – a morning with the lights and sounds of the Fair were turned low for neurodivergent students. And doing its share for the environment, the Fair recycled more than 14 tons of waste.

The 2025 LA County Fair returns next May.

For additional details and to keep track of updated for next year, please visit www.lacountyfair.com.


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