You are so lucky you know me. "Why," you ask, "besides your charming personality and extra large crayon collection?" Well, on top of those fine qualities, I also happen to be a fair expert. I'm always shocked to learn of people who have lived here their whole lives but have only been to the fair once and had sort of an okay time but didn't really want to go back. This is because they've never gone with me. The LA County Fair is the greatest place on earth! And because I'm a loving and generous friend I'm going to give you a little tutorial in how to get the most out of your fair experience.
1.) Enter through the Blue Gate. There are a few other places to park but unless you want to be mauled by rabid teenagers with more piercings than brain cells, go through the Blue Gate. Plus you get the added bonus of walking through a tunnel once you pass the blue gate. Tunnels are fun and mysterious and lead to adventure. In this case, they also lead to donuts the size of your face.
2.) Do not waste your time on the carny rides. A few rides are okay, like the Big Yellow Slide (you all know the BYS, right? If you're at the fair on Saturday come look for me on it.) All other rides are mostly death traps and while you're plummeting to your untimely end you're missing out on all the really fun stuff like...
3.) Vendors, vendors, vendors! I love walking through the exhibit halls because where else can you buy a bag of beef jerky, a bamboo plant, magnetic jewelry, shammies, a quilting machine, shatter-proof dishes, a Back Bubble, plus register to vote, get rid of constipation, pick up a pamphlet from the Masons and listen to the Elks 99 Orchestra all in one building. You should also have a look at the spa section on your way to the Flower Building, but be careful of the those vendors. People who sell spas and grills would put their grandma in a cage match with a robot to make a deal with you.
4.) The arts and crafts buildings are great places to see amazing things. Last year I saw an entire crocheted sea-scape and a hook rug with Elvis on it. People craft the kookiest things. It's also in here that you get to see the table setting competition. Do NOT miss this.
5.) The main animal section is great because you get to see all the babies (Is there anything cuter than a barn yard baby? I don't think so.) but if you really want to get up close and personal with an animal you need to go to the back barns where they keep the cows that are going to be shown and sold. They don't have gates on the stalls and you can walk right up to a cow and pet it. This will make you feel real country like, until snot starts dripping from their noses and you run away screaming like a girl. You can also convince a guy to open up the gate that leads to the horse stalls. When I was a kid I met a woman who had two fingers bitten off by a horse so I'm not real big on petting them but they're pretty to look at. Oh, and don't wear sandals. You know exactly what you're stepping in when you go into those barns.
6.) Animal races are worth it. Whether it's horses on the big track or the pigs by Building 6, it is worth sticking around to watch. Gina told me that at the Utah State Fair they have a turkey stampede. Now that would be something to see.
7.) Have a mullet count. I'm planning on doing this on Saturday. On Wednesday I saw a bunch but I didn't keep track. I will not be so lazy the next time. The place is exploding with really trashy people! They're everywhere. The fair is like one big giant Wal-Mart, except it's magical so all those people who usually drive me bonkers in Wal-Mart suddenly because hysterically funny when they're holding onto a turkey leg. I hope Screaming Mom with No Bra made it to the Dimension Bra booth. (Side note: the bust the bra is on looks like it could be peach but it's not. It's glowing! I asked that man in the background if I could take his picture and he smiled like I was from People Magazine.) Here's a fun story to illustrate the type of people you get to see: We were walking towards the animal area and in front of us was a highly mullet-ed couple. Mr. Mullet was holding onto the Pro-Cord with one hand (this is the "It" Item at the fair this year. It looks like a yellow hernia donut), and his other hand was wrapped around Mrs. Mullet and was SCRATCHING HER BUTT like it was a winning Lotto ticket!! Knights of Columbus! I almost choked on my Dr. Bob's ice cream cone from laughing.
8.) Get a Dr. Bob's ice cream cone.
9.) This brings us to Fair Food. I know that some people think buying food at the fair is a waste of money and a few years of your life from that early heart attack you're bound to have from ingesting so much grease, but not eating at the fair is like going to a movie theater and sitting out in the lobby. For book club a few months ago we read the Devil in the White City, which is about the World's Fair in Chicago, so naturally our food theme for the night was fair food. We had caramel apples, funnel cake (way easier to make than you would ever expect), fried zucchini, onion rings, and cotton candy. Besides the Food You Would Want at the End of the World theme we had a few years ago, it was the best night of food we've had, and that wasn't even REAL fair food. Really great fair food must fit into the following categories: it must be either fried, drenched in chocolate or on a stick. Which is why the deep fried chocolate dog on a stick may be the ultimate fair food. Go with an open mind, an empty stomach and a wallet full of cash because they will charge you $6 for a corn dog. It's worth it. Eat it!
10.) Invite me to come along. My excitement for the fair it contagious.
There, you're set. Go to the fair. Count the mullets, pet the animals, eat the food, enjoy yourself. But do not get your fortune told. She wasn't even dressed like a gypsy.