The annual county fair is in session beginning last week. To me, this fair is a "comfort place" more than anything else, the same way you have "comfort foods" and such. There's little that's different from year to year, and the grounds (though decent) aren't fancy or novel, but of course seeing all-new things and places isn't the point. It's just nice to visit that one time of the year. I've been to a few fairs in various places, but this one's still the best. For:
Watching the Mark Yuzuik show while eating a big order of fried zucchini (take a zucchini, slice lengthwise into quarters, batter coat, fry, serve with ranch dressing, enjoy this combination once a year); wandering around the spas and those nifty buildings you can get for them; spending time in the out-of-the-way grassy areas under the trees; looking at the big waterfall sculpture; nachos with fresh-fried chips which are especially good if a few of the chips aren't fully cooked; looking at the photos and collections and minerals and plants and paintings and fine arts and...; just wandering around; and--in case you didn't get the idea--Fair Food. (But not a whole lot: at most only two "meals" per visit.)
This was my second visit this year; fair fare and leisurely looking over things again being a major motive. Last week, I saw "Aussie Battered Chips" at one vendor and wondered what they were made with. So I googled it--and got 0 results. But the similar-results showed they are simply batter-coated potato slices. Of course, on this visit I got some: big plateful of them which I managed to eat all of. I only eat this sort of thing once in a long while, sometimes just at the fair.
Just for yucks, I tried keeping track of all the foods "on a stick" I could find. I found the expected things:
# Corn dogs of various types and sizes
# [I think] Hot dogs and polish sausages (these may have been referring to corn dogs though)
# Caramel and candy apples
# Frozen chocolate-dipped bananas
# Cotton candy (albeit those tubes but they serve the same purpose)
And some more novel:
# Egg roll
# What looked like fried zucchini pieces on toothpicks
# [in the past but this vendor wasn't here this year] fudge squares
I'm not sure if the fried Twinkies and Oreos were on sticks. If they were, they could be prepared like corn dogs.
A couple years ago or so I took a few assorted pictures here and there. Because it's mostly the same year to year, I didn't bring a camera this time. These will give you an idea of what things look like. On weekdays it's sometimes not busy until evening or so, after which it can become quite crowded. The year I took these, much of the grass appeared to have been recently re-seeded, and I believe this was the first day or two that year so it hadn't been worn down yet. It's also very clean usually: there's an army of custodial staff who sweep up litter and debris. Disneyland would be proud.
Here's an overview of the fairgrounds on Google Maps.
Looking north up the main north/south street, appropriately called Main Street. The main entrance and big plaza is to the left (west), featuring a stage (immediately to the left) and pavilion, with the two main commercial-exhibit buildings on either side. One of the two carnivals/midways is to the right/east. The other larger one is at the north end of Main Street, at the northwest corner of the grounds. The fine arts and horticulture/floriculture exhibit building is to the left/west just before the carnival. One of the secondary concert venues is also to the left/west, in between the fine-arts and commercial buildings.
Looking south up Main Street from about the same position as the previous picture. Maybe 400 feet to the south, the main east-west street, called Grand Ave, crosses here and extends mainly left/east. South of Grand Ave, at the south end of the grounds, are all the 4-H exhibits and venues. The road leading through the carnival to the left/east, called "KC Lane", turns south, passes by the smaller venues (turkey races, elephant ride, additional shows, etc) and joins Grand Ave. Shortly up Main St. in this picture is a path that goes diagonally to the southeast, leading to/past the main concert venue and joins KC Lane just before Grand Ave.
Near the north end of Main St. is a nice Mexican-themed area, with a concert venue that caters to Latino music. One of the restaurants here has the best shredded beef and has been a favorite of mine for a few years.
Looking east on Grand Ave, just east of the main intersection. A big grandstand is behind the trees to the right/south. At the west end of this street (just past Main St.) is the third of the three large buildings, featuring the photography exhibits. In front of the building is a secondary concert venue, and to the south is the collections exhibit building. (This was built just a couple years ago. A big tent was used before. When I took these, there was a MONSTER collection of Disney figurines that I did get pictures of, but unfortunately they seemed to have been lost.) To the north is one of the two commercial buildings. Outside on the corner at the main intersection is a hands-on "discovery zone".
Behind the food/merchandise stands on the south side of of Grand Ave, between the grandstand and Main St, are several quite-peaceful grassy areas under the trees, that I discovered only a few years ago and have taken a liking to. Much of the grounds are quite open in nature, although it's not immediately obvious, which makes for out of the way and "semi-secret" areas here and there. To me, these areas add a lot to the "comfort" aspect of this fair.
The forest-fire-prevention exhibit near the east end of Grand Ave. For some reason this has always added to that "comfort" aspect as well.
Looking northwest at the diagonal path leading past the main concert venue, from the KC Lane end
Looking north down KC Lane, from just to the right of the previous picture
Looking southeast from KC Lane near the carnival. That road you see is "KC Loop", leading east then south to Grand Ave, where many of the small venues are.
The landscaping-exhibits annex at the floriculture/fine-arts building features this complex and supremely awesome construct, with many streams, lakes and waterfalls. I've been fascinated by this ever since I was a kid. During the visit when I took all of these, I took about 200 pictures of this from many different angles, with the intent of using them as reference for a 3-D computer model such as a video-game level. Imagine this if it were about 2000 feet tall and maybe 1-1/2 miles long, in the side of a mountain maybe.
A long timelapse, using the wall for stability.
The main concert venue. Looks like a Mark Yuzuik show was on tap here that night. On most days this is at the stage by the floriculture/fine-arts building, unless there's a larger event there and a lesser one here. Speaking of Mark Yuzuik (he's a show hypnotist if you haven't heard of him), he hosts an adults-only show in town after the fair every year. He sells discount tickets at the fair, and I'd always considered going. This year I finally am.
As an aside, I found this on that visit too. Look close: you can win a SONY IPOD! w00000t!
And finally, something to drive you freakin' nuts:
This is a stereogram. The images are intended to be merged by crossing your eyes; e.g. the left-eye image is on the right. From what I understand, people can generally force their eyes to cross but not diverge (or "wall-eye"), and these are too large and far apart for the usual divergent method such as what's used by random dot stereograms. Depending on how "tight" your eyes are, it may be difficult to avoid the blurred vision crossing your eyes usually causes. Try moving back several feet from the monitor and look from there until you get the two images to "lock", and move closer from there (from a distance it'll be too far to see much 3-D detail). That is, if you have the patience for this sort of thing.
If you have the means to use these in an actual stereoscope, remember to swap the images. If anyone's interested, I have a few more of these of the Matterhorn at Disneyland.