County fair opens in Pomona
The anniversary will be marked today with a parade featuring 94-year-old Happi Moore, who has attended every fair, and throughout the fair with an exhibit at the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts chronicling its highlights, “Celebrating 90 Years.”
Under the theme, “Genius, A Celebration of American Innovation,” the fair will pay tribute to nearly 50 significant innovators and inventors. It will include a replica of George Washington Carver’s classroom on wheels, original Thomas Edison artifacts, facades of the shops and buildings where Benjamin Franklin lived, and an original Model T.
“Stingray Island,” a 17,000-gallon enclosure, will feature an 8-foot waterfall, stingrays, sharks, octopus, eels, with marine biologists fielding questions about them.
Visitors to “Wilderness Ridge” can learn lumberjacking skills, including log rolling. It will also include performing bears and an all-woman “lumberjill” show.
Other attractions include a carnival with more than 70 rides, Esmeralda’s Traveling Circus, and wine-tasting. Horse racing will be held from Sept. 7-23, except for Sept. 10-11 and Sept. 17-18.
Cereal and cookie dough will join the fair’s deep-fried food offerings, which will also include frogs legs, Kool Aid and Oreos.
The fair’s End of Summer Concert Series begins today with performances by the British-Irish boy band The Wanted and the electronic rock band This is She.
Other concert performers are Carly Rae Jepsen and Shane Harper (Saturday); Grand Funk Railroad and Burton Cummings (Sunday); Karmin, Cobra Starship and This is She (Monday); The B-52s and special guest Berlin, featuring Terri Nunn (next Friday); Styx (Sept. 8); Ramon Ayala y sus Bravos del Norte (Sept. 9); George Benson and Chaka Khan (Sept. 13); Tower of Power and Average White Band (Sept. 14); Bridgit Mendler and Cher Lloyd (Sept. 15); Mariachi USA Fiesta (Sept. 16); Boyz II Men, Kenny `Babyface’ Edmonds and En Vogue (Sept. 20); War (Sept. 21); Old School Soul Jam, featuring Rose Royce, Heatwave, Lenny Williams and Evelyn “Champagne” King (Sept. 22); Pistol Annies (Sept. 23); the Charlie Daniels Band, 38 Special and Outlaws (Sept. 28); and Earth, Wind & Fire (Sept. 30).
The fair is continuing its opening weekend discounts. Admission will be $1 for people entering between between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday through Monday.
Also during the opening weekend, the cost of 22-ounce soft drinks will be reduced to $1 from 6-9 p.m. Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday through Monday.
Carnival rides will be priced at $2 from 6-9 p.m. Friday and 4-7 p.m. Saturday through Monday, while carnival games will be priced at $2 from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday and 4-7 p.m. Saturday through Monday.
Admission prices are unchanged from last year. The weekday price is $12, $9 for adults age 60 and over and $7 for children ages 6 to 12. On weekends, the admission price is $17, $14 for adults age 60 and over and $12 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and under are free throughout the fair. A season pass is available for $29.99.
Additional fees are required for concerts and the carnival.
Opening weekend hours are 3 p.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday. Hours for the remainder of the fair are noon-10 p.m. Wednesdays; noon-11 p.m. Thursdays; noon-midnight Fridays; 10 a.m.-midnight Saturdays; and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays.
The Aug. 31 opening is the earliest in the fair’s history, four days earlier than last year’s Sept. 3 opening, which had been the earliest.
The fair evolved from a commercial-industrial show first held along the Southern Pacific railroad siding in downtown Pomona in 1921. It proved so successful, the businessmen who produced it held the first Los Angeles County Fair in October 1922.
The fair has been held annually at Fairplex since 1922, except from 1942-47, when the facility was being used by the U.S. Army, including as a prisoner of war camp for German and Italian soldiers and a relocation camp for Japanese Americans.