The Big Fresno Fair is a big deal in this town. For two weeks every fall, the whole city’s mindset is on the fair. The local tv stations run their news shows from the fair; people take days off from work to go to the horse races; kids miss school; local businesses say their revenues drop. Money and time that would normally be spent in the community go to the fair.
Having not attended the fair in about 15 years, Terry and I decided to go yesterday to see what we have been missing. It’s bigger and splashier than it used to be. More vendors, more places to sit, more fried food. More free places for kids to play.
You can now walk into the horse racing grandstand without paying an extra entrance fee. I had never been to the track before because I saw no need to pay more money to watch horses run, horses which I did not intend to bet on. Still didn’t bet yesterday, but we watched a race. It was over so fast we hardly knew it had started. Fast way to make or lose money.
The exhibit buildings are still there, but harder to find because the buildings are surrounded by food vendors who have very loud, garrish displays of their wares. Lights, camera, action…We managed to find all the buildings and traipse through them. Nothing much had changed. You can still see a man demonstrating a chopping gadget; you can still look at more photographs and paintings than you thought possible; you can still buy a bag of rocks in the gem building; and the outlying towns are still bringing all their products in for display in the agriculture building. Fewer quilts and jellies, though.
In a tight economy it is costly to go to the fair. We did it on a budget. By the time we entered the gates we had paid $5 to park and $20 for admission. We ate tacos, corn dog, and beerock for another $17.50. Oh, and Terry got a coffee in there, too, for that money. I did get a coupon for 55 cents off a pound of butter and another coupon for a free case of water at the local grocery store, both of which I took advantage of today when grocery shopping.
This afternoon, to help the local merchants, I went book shopping and spent more for books than I spent at the fair. The book store seemed less crowded than usual on a Saturday afternoon and traffic was much lighter. Guess it’s true. People are at the fair. The BIG fair.
For more pictures, check here.