Big Fun: Rides, Cotton Candy and Brews

1 Aug

The California state fair has made its way into our lives and back out once again, ushering away feelings of frivolity and long-summer days. As of today, I’ve officially lived in California (again) for three years. And this is the third summer in a row that I’ve attended the state fair.

Every year around state-fair-time I get giddy with excitement and I feel like a child once again. I look forward to eating cotton candy, giant turkey legs, and deep-fried-anything-I-can-get-my-hands-on. I sweat more than most people think is possible, but that’s part of the fun. Who cares if it’s close to 100 degrees? There are expos to look at! And rides to go on! And delicacies to devour!

Every year I feel like it also gets more expensive. But there are benefits to being a state employee. The state fair comes discounted! For $45, we got four fair admissions, four ride tickets (one ride per ticket) and one parking pass. The savings came to more than 40%! Even without the savings, though, it is well worth it.

I always make sure I get as much out of the fair as I can. I don’t care how long I have to stay. I will do everything there that I want to do and try to see it all.

This year was also the first event that Todd and I have attended together, for the second time. I guess that means it has to be tradition, right?

We made our own photobooth instead of paying $5!

We made our own photobooth instead of paying $5!

I reviewed the events of the fair this year ’round and decided that we needed to do something more than just go and do the typical stuff; I wanted to go to a real event. The top contenders were an RV demolition derby and a Brew Fest. After some debate, the Brew Fest won out.

Saturday afternoon, we ate a very light lunch and made our way to the fair. We met up with some friends, saw some of the expositions (California Youth Art, Toytopia 2.0!, modern art and some others), and watched some dance groups perform.

Art, toys and performers.

Art, toys and performers.

After some meandering and discussion, Todd and I decided to part ways with our friends and ride some rides! We only rode two because we didn’t want to waste money on tickets for more rides. We were already sufficiently dizzied.

After the rides came nasty fair food! (Word from the wise: do the rides before eating fair food that will undoubtedly make you want to yack.) We indulged in deep fried artichoke hearts, a deep fried cinnamon role, a Merlino’s freeze and some much needed water. For awhile we just wandered about, saw some birds and took in all the sights (people-watching is a great pastime).

The Brew Fest started that evening at 5, but our friends didn’t show up until 6, so once they arrived, we entered the beer garden. We received some handy bracelets with ten little tabs that each brewer would tear off as we received our tasters.

Souvenirs!

Souvenirs!

There were way more than ten brewers there so we had to pick and choose. My two favorites were 21st Amendment’s watermelon beer, Hell or High Watermelon, and the Devil’s Canyon champagne beer (note: NOT the champage OF beers), Belle.

Let me tell you. If you want to get your drunk on, you should drink multiple 5oz glasses of well-crafted brews in less than 2 hours. What this then turns into is eating very large, very crispy turkey legs. And watching a cover band that I dubbed Not The Police (they were a Police cover band). The singer was an odd mix of Guy Fieri and Jack Black, but his voice was spot on.

Meat Eaters.

Meat Eaters.

After devouring my entire turkey leg, and Todd, a foot long corn dog, we decided to depart from the fairgrounds.

It was a long day. My feet were sore and my stomach full. But it was one of the best fair-days I’ve ever had and I can’t wait to go back next year.

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