Nostalgia revisited: Los Angeles County Fair


The Los Angeles County’s Fair has a legacy of more than 80 years in the making, serving fair food classics such as funnel cakes, hosting competitions and catering to families in the community. My own experiences have always been positive, rooted in elementary school field trips. But because of the costly entrance fee, I stopped going to the Fair for a few years. This year, however, I returned with a renewed sense of purpose— to eat the biggest turkey leg I could find. On the traffic-heavy ride to the fair, I dreamed of pink tufts of cotton candy against a grand sunset background, but instead arrived at an illuminated, restless night party.

LACF lasts the month of September and is available for most days except Mondays and Tuesdays. For adults, the entrance fee to the fair is a painful $20, which, combined with the $15 general parking, can cripple budgets before any goods are even purchased. Nevertheless, the golden ticket grants access to the greatest diabetes-inducing American foods, such as the cholesterol-heavy doughnut burger and the fried bacon Nutella pickle. Though I was appalled by the general price of foods, I abandoned my original goal of eating a turkey leg in the pursuit of a blooming onion, a snack I paid $10 in exchange for 2,000 calories of pure sin. To my disappointment, the greasy, fried onion sated my hunger, so I could only admire the rest of the outrageous foods with a sense of patriotic pride.

Past the food section, rides in the carnival for children and adults are decorated with bright flashing lights that make for a gaudy light show. Carnival games such as ring the bottle and balloon dart are spread throughout the fair, advertised by happy couples with enormous plush prizes. Carnival tickets range from $20 for 40 tickets to $100 for 200 tickets. Depending on the rides or games played, 40 tickets will, at most, last a few activities. Of the two ferris wheels, I rode the smaller and cheaper with three friends. At 12 tickets each, the two rotations amounted to around $24 for the four of us. After the ride, we only had enough tickets left for a few carnival games, which I expected, but still felt disappointed about. Luckily, some attractions, concerts and competitions such as The Magical World of Dragons, Wizards and Beasts are free of charge and are just as interesting.

LACF has a very enjoyable atmosphere, but the steep entrance, parking, food, event and ticket fees are not easy to afford for something so popular in the community. The fair’s large size requires time to explore, and those looking for family-friendly activities will like the petting zoo and other educational exhibits. For a conventional fair experience, the evening is perfect for attending concerts and browsing shops, whereas at night the festivities are more lively and rowdy. I would recommend the fair to those willing to spend a large amount of money for a bit of fun. Regardless, visiting the fair is a worthy experience that provides a nice break from the monotony of life.

Written by Jamie Chen, Scene editor
Photo courtesy of lacf.com

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