By Charly SHELTON
It’s back. The L.A. County Fair has returned with all its deep fried, neon light, gut churning glory. Down at the Pomona Fairplex, patrons can get miracle products for next to nothing, eat the weirdest foods (deep fried of course), and then go on insane rides like Starship 2000 and be spun around and around to relive all the fried food again. And, of course, enjoy the staples of a fair: farm animals.
But lets start with the atmosphere.
There are 11 “fair neighborhoods”: Action Avenue features A Pirate’s Life stage and entertainment as well as fast cars and rides; Clock Tower Plaza has one of the many Ferris wheels; Park Square offers shopping, rides, and Kids Under The Sea; Fairview Farms has all the animals; The Shopping Place is several huge air conditioned buildings full of vendors (2,000 at the fair in all); The Grandstand features the End of Summer Concert Series Thursdays through Sundays. The series will host many bands including Peter Frampton and Kansas on the 11th, Good Charlotte on the 12th, Lynyrd Skynyrd on the 13th, LeAnn Rimes on the 19th, Pat Benatar on the 24th, The Beach Boys on the 27th. Other neighborhoods include California’s Heritage Square, Home and Gardens, The Palms Marketplace, Museums, and Carnival.
The last one mentioned, Carnival, is where the rides are located. All across the Fairplex, Ski Lifttype chairs run above your heads, transporting guests to the different corners of the fair. But Carnival is where the real rides are. The classic Ferris wheel is huge, a landmark of the fair. But there are also roller coasters, water rides, fun houses, freak shows and shake shacks for kids young and old. The Haunted Mansion ride featured at the fair is something this reporter has always wanted to try. Guests board a little four person vehicle and turn the corner passing through the doors to see the horrors of the mansion. It is pitch dark and you hear screams everywhere. Ghouls and bodies pop out unexpectedly to scare the unwitting passengers. And then, right as you exit, there’s a surprise visitation. Really a lot of fun.
Other rides include the Hi Miler, a surprisingly big roller coaster comprised of several big drops that will get your heart pumping. And a water ride that has two big drops, one of which has a bump in the track to ride over.
All of these rides cost tickets. The Ski Lift is five tickets. The Haunted Mansion is six tickets. The number of tickets needed are determined by the caliber of the ride. Tickets are 50 cents each, so plan for ride ticket expenses in your budget, especially for families with children.
Another thing to plan for is the cost of “miracle products.” Many of the merchants in the Shopping Place location, as well as some out in the rest of the fair, feature miracle products, things like pitchman Billy Banks would sell. Magic Mops, ShamWows, knives that cut through cans, Revolutionary Design Pots. Many people think these are mainly hoaxes and colored water that only works when the salesperson is using it. But the beauty of this show is that unlike infomercials, we have the chance to ask questions and see the results for ourselves. A silver ring that I bought at a flea market and worn for two years without a cleaning was rinsed in a cleaner called Touch of Purple and now sparkles like the day it was new. This is one of those products that you have to see in person on something really significant to you in order to believe. And miracle products like this are all over the Fairplex. These things are the new line of products that we will be seeing in the future.
If any money is left after the shopping, there are some amazing food stuffs to be had at the fair. Any thing you can think of is either fried, covered in chocolate, or both. Slow cooked turkey legs. Funnel cakes covered in sugar and fruit. French fries in a bundle as big as a cat. But the real things to look out for are the foods that can only be found at a fair. Deep fried Twinkies. Deep fried Oreos. Chocolate covered cotton candy. Chocolate covered Cheetos. Chocolate dipped pickles. And best of all, the Krispy Kreme sandwich from Chicken Charlie’s. This is a raspberry filled Krispy Kreme doughnut sliced in half and used as a bun for a chicken sandwich. All of these foods are surprisingly good. Well, maybe not the pickle. But everything else is great. For those with an adventurous spirit and an iron stomach, this will be a highlight for you.
And what would a fair be without some farm animals? It appears that some of the goats have recently given birth, so baby goats are roaming all over the pen. Cows have relatively young calves as well.
Baby animals are always a favorite among fairgoers. Be sure to come see the new additions to the farm crowd. The area is hard to find, though. It is right near Blue Gate entrance off to the right, opposite the rock and fossil booth.
The fair runs through Oct. 4 at the Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W. Mckinley Ave. in Pomona. (909) 6233111. Great for all ages.
Tickets are: adults 13 and up – $12 weekdays, $17 weekends; children 612 – $7 weekdays, $12 weekends; children 5 and under are always free. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information and fair hours, visit http://www.lacountyfair.com/2009. To see Charly’s visit to the fair, visit YouTube.com and search Crescenta Valley Weekly.