97 years of Cotton Candy, Games, and Rides
The LA County Fair brings yet another spectacular year of memories
November 3, 2019
Children jumping and begging for cotton candy, adults enjoying their turkey legs, and teenagers testing their luck on the games in order to win a toy for their “significant other” all seemed to happen at once. Where else could you experience this? The LA County Fair.
To start with, the LA County Fair has existed for an impressive 97 years, starting out in an old beet farm as its fairgrounds in Pomona with new themes every year. 2018’s theme was “Get Your Kicks,” which revolves around the good ol’ Route 66. This year, the Fair decided to choose the theme, “Going POP!”
Like most fairs, the LA County Fair has been playing a key role in shaping America’s storied culture. First-generation electric washing machines were being sold at the very first opening in 1922. Frisbee was discovered during the fair and Rihanna’s debut concert was featured back in 2006.
Fairs, in general, used to be focused on educating people on agriculture. Sheep shearing and speeches were presented in front of a big audience. In addition, competitions, such as horse-racing and who owns the biggest pig, were common events in all fairs, not just the LA County Fair.
Although these events happened years ago, the county fair still continues to add on to American culture. This year’s LA County Fair theme, “Going POP!” sent off feelings of nostalgia by featuring a giant Etch-a-Sketch as well as a life-sized Monopoly board in their Toytopia attraction.
They also built a western town reminiscent of the ones shown on television during the 1950s and ’60s. Along with that, this year’s fair featured an old fashioned rodeo with Mexican charro performances. The theme of 2019’s LA County Fair was evident through the comic-book styled logo, representing Roy Lichtenstein and the ancient series of the Batman TV shows from the 1960s.
The fair was held in Pomona from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22. Luckily, after many reschedules, I was able to go on the very last day it was open.
On the day I attended the fair, the sun was beating down on the fairgrounds making the heat nearly unbearable, but somehow people found a way to simply disregard the rising temperatures and continue wandering around.
The fair was decorated with rides in almost every area for all ages. The enormous Ferris wheel was the center of attention, catching the eye of every person who was even driving by the area. The Big Top Swinger, a 60 ft ride, stood across from it carrying more than 50 screaming people.
“The lines for the rides were not excessively long and they were really fun and exciting to go on,” said GHS sophomore Justo Vince. “[I liked] mainly the designs on it, like the art, the thrill of it all, and the short lines.” While some were enjoying the thrill of the variety of rides, others enjoyed the many flavors offered by the fair.
Big juicy turkey legs were being cooked in every possible corner, filling the air with their meaty aroma. Slushies, ice-cream, cotton candy and many other sweet treats were sold in radiant pink trucks that were scattered across the fair. “There [were] different types [of food] and they just tasted good,” said GHS junior Nathan Haig, who attended the fair with his girlfriend. “I’d have to say [that the best thing there were] tacos.”
While many liked the tacos, others absolutely recommended me to get the turkey legs and the popcorn. In the end, I decided to get a cherry-flavored Icee.
The cold, cherry-flavored Icee melted in my mouth as I walked through the heat. During my visit, I went on the Ferris wheel where I had the most incredible view of the fair. What looked like ants running around were people walking from ride to ride.
The thrill of the fair was captured at that moment. Many people, from all places in California, had come to have fun and try new things. When asked how long he has been coming, Miguel Mireles thoughtfully said, “Maybe one time a year for 13 times.”
What keeps him coming back for such a long time? The animals. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see them.
“They have cows, chickens, horses, pigs, a lot of animals,” Mireles said.The event was a minor show that’s held at the fair as part of the day’s festivities. The animals would parade around the fair along with antique cars while children jumped with excitement and adults pulled out phones to capture the moment on their cameras.
What amazed me was how many events the fair had that I wasn’t even informed about. I’m positive that there were many more events that I missed out on aside from the animal and car parade. In my opinion, it would take a week to figure out how many activities the fair does in their one month in Pomona.
Nearing sunset, my surroundings grew to absolutely breathtaking. Neon lights flickered here and there, movements of the rides became more defined, and the weather finally started to cool down. At this time I decided to enter the exhibits that display many works that represent our culture; for example, a painting of Marilyn Monroe and a miniature display of Aladdin.
All the excitement and emotion that I kept hearing about finally came into light. Nothing captured my attention more than the jostling, the luminous lights that stood out in the dark, and the sounds of every game that meant that somebody won a prize. However, some things I wish I had done include the following: getting the wristband to unlimited rides, bringing a lot of water, and being able to attend somewhere in the middle of the duration of the LA County Fair.
Many recommend that others who have never been should attend, and I have to agree. “I try to go every year. I only went one day this year but it was worth it. I would definitely recommend others to go!” said Vince.