Everyone Loves a Fair

The LA County Fair is an end-of-summer rite for all Angelenos.

Courtesy Los Angeles County Fair Association

My late-1960s childhood in Los Angeles was a ranchy wonderland of orange groves, date orchards, horses, ponies, peacocks, and burros. Back then, it was a surprisingly bucolic place for a major metropolis. There aren't many vestiges of LA's rural heritage left, but I'm reminded of it each September when the LA County Fair starts back up in Pomona, 30 miles east of Downtown. Since 1922, it's been an end-of-summer rite for all Angelenos: an old-timey funfest with livestock shows, rides, cooking contests, 4-H produce competitions, and the kinds of sweet, salty, gooey foods you find only at fairs. Nowadays, the concessions are mostly deep-fried: deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried avocados, deep-fried zucchini-wrapped corn dogs (a k a "zucchini weenies"), and basically anything else you can skewer and submerge in hot oil. I partake, but I am thankful I can also still find a slice of homemade double-crusted apple pie that's worthy of a blue ribbon. —Nicole Panter, a writer and faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts