Like a perfectly blended margarita – with some sweetness, some sour, some kick, and little salt to lick – the 2012 CA State Fair has its own bittersweet concoction of cool, hot, and just-right summer fun. And there just happen to be 10 days left within which to absorb the mist of good-old fashioned fair frolicking and nostalgia.
What’s Pretty Cool ~
* All the Things to Feed your Curiosity: Go bird watching, feed baby animals, explore grape vines and horticulture, learn about the history of the Girl Scouts, explore all of California’s counties, partake in some serious horse-play.
* 2-for-1 Admission Coupons at Big-O Tires: Yippee! But take heed as these discounts are good only during weekdays.
* Raging Waters Water Park: On Cal Expo grounds, you can enter through the fair or the far southeast lot (D, I think). The kids will love it, you might even like it. (Separate entrance fee required).
* SaveMart Supermarkets Wine Country: Wine tasting with purchase, and Wines of the Day yield a bottle for just $15 (compared to two small beers for $12).
* Pack a Picnic: You can bring a picnic into the fair, and there are designated picnic areas; just no bottles or alcohol.
* Free Concerts: Even those that require paid admission can be heard from outside the open-air venue. You might even be lucky enough to nab a spot of grassy area.
What’s Not So Hot ~
* Beer Prices: See above.
* Hard-Selling Vendors and Carnies: Some seem to cross the line from playful engagement to a little please-leave-me-alone already (especially when you don’t want to be hassled every 10 feet).
* Wine Country: It loses a star because they give off some mixed messages about the complimentary wine tasting.
What’s Just Right ~
* World’s Biggest Margarita (er, Calarita): Soon to be in the Guinness Book of World Records.
* The Fountains: Aside from diving into that margarita, there’s little more refreshing on a hot summer day than cooling off beneath (or just near) the fair fountains.
* Surprises along the Way: Like the freakishly tall but splendidly dressed stilt people who will gladly stop and pose picture-perfectly still for you.
Since I couldn’t get to it all myself, check the website before you go and make note of things you’d like to see and do.
To save a few bucks, search for deals online before the fair even starts. That’s when you’ll get the best prices and package deals and steals, helping you save some hard-earned cash for experiencing the fair’s nuances of your choice.
Where to Stay~