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.
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?