Alameda County Fair
The Fair is almost here! Yay! I can’t wait. Okay it is actually 40 days away, but close enough to be almost here for me. I love going to the Fair. This year should be even better than last year. I have been to the Fair almost every year since arriving in California in 1973. It is a tradition! In fact, if you talk to many of the long time residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, they will tell you that going to the Fair is anticipated and a definite must. They will also tell you, like me, that there are certain things that one does when going to the fair. Everyone seems to have something that they do or must see that is traditional within their families. For me, I must have Funnel Cake, I must see the critters on display and I love seeing the art and handicrafts by local children.
This year the Alameda County Fair turns 100 and it doesn’t look a day over 50. It was born in 1912 and ran from October 23 to October 27. Originally thought of as a racing fair, it grew up to become the largest fair in northern California. The fair has agriculture displays and contests. Yes, you can still enter your favorite jam/jelly preserves, cakes, flowers and win ribbons and bragging rights. There are judging contests for the local 4-H and Future Farmers of America. Youngsters can hope that their sheep, pig or cow can win a blue ribbon.
There still is horseracing. The fairground boasts the oldest one-mile racetrack (built in 1858) in America. As a youngster, I always wanted to go watch the horse race but my mom would never let me. As a grown-up, I still always want to go watch the horseracing but where as a child I just loved horses, I now bet on them adding to the excitement and fun. Remember the first time I could bet on the horses, not knowing what I was doing, (I still don’t actually) I placed a $5 bet on a 40-1 long shot for the win. And win the horse did. Needless to say, I was a very happy little camper.
There are free concerts as well. Well not actually free, you have to pay to get into the fair, but there are no extra costs to see the concerts. There have been some really good bands and people at our fair. I have seen many good acts and bands from the newer country artist to some of the older. The best one ever, believe it or not, was Paul Revere and the Raiders. They really put on a great show. The second best was Carrot Top, I laughed so hard at his show.
There are commercial displays where one can buy anything from delicious handmade fudge (they make it right there actually) to jewelry to those things you never knew you needed. There are also collections and handmade crafts on display. And there is the food. Where else can you eat a corndog, teriyaki bowls, pizza and chocolate covered everything in one place.
I so can’t wait to go. I love to go in the evening when it is not so hot. It does get very hot during the day and the building with air conditioning become very crowded, so the evening is a better time to go. There is so much to do at the fair and over the next month, I will highlight some of my favorites.