The more formal term of this yearly event is an agricultural show. But I never really see fairs that way.
Last Tuesday late afternoon, my parents and I attended the local county fair. The fair is located in Pleasanton, one of the prominent tri-valley cities (Dublin and Livermore are the other two) of inland East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, where agriculture, husbandry, and local artisan crafts are very strong and prominent. Pleasanton also happens to be ranked as one of the “Best Cities to live in the U.S.” in USA Today and a few of notable publications. ((Pleasanton is also one of the most expensive places to live also— a lot of the Bay Area’s wealthy live there (meaning lots of upscale mansions here…), though not as pricey as that of Marin County. A few notable celebrities such as Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, sportscaster/former NFL coach John Madden, and actress Gabrielle Union were born/raised in Pleasanton.)) I also used to work at a now-defunct auto loan company back in the mid-2000s for about three years1 and it is a very, very gorgeous place to visit. Lots of high-end expensive shops and malls, and, like almost half of the Bay Area, numerous tech companies are located here too. Anyway.
My family and I (almost) attend the county fair every summer, and it became our own family tradition since the first time we immigrated here. Growing up, I always enjoyed the rides, the game booths, the food, the farm animals I’ve never seen before (back then), all the local arts and crafts, and of course, the local exhibits. Sometime in high school, my high school calligraphy class submitted a some of our final calligraphy project to be part of the youth exhibits, in which one of them was mine.2 Much to my surprise, my calligraphy art won first place/blue ribbon. My dad was able to take a photo of me in front of that calligraphy artwork,3 but a lot of our old family photos had gone lost, so I still have yet to find that photo. I hope it’s still around. My brother also had an artwork submitted too – a crayon-colored drawing of a whale from the elementary school level and he also won first place. Unlike me, he kept the drawing, along with the blue ribbon, so it’s neatly displayed in his bedroom here at home.
During our time at the fair that Tuesday afternoon, because we’re all old and… not-so-young old… we were going for the exhibits, the local artisan shop booths, and Dad and I wanted to see the animals, but Mom doesn’t like them because they stink.4 My parents also love horse racing, and Dad always wanted to bet on them, but Mom wouldn’t allow him because we’re not that rich. Most of all, we also love going to free concerts, seeing local performers and well-known music artists (old and new) live on stage. My brother thinks that those who do perform at our fair were “has beens,” but that’s not necessarily true. The concert that we watched was a Journey local cover band, and they were really energetic and awesome, we really enjoyed their performance. But instead of sitting at the bleachers to watch them live, we just watched outside and to the live screen because we loved the reclining patio seats on the grass. We ended our night with dinner (Greek gyros and pizza slices) and then traveled back home.5
I’m writing this, not because I wanted to give a brief entry about my day at the fair. I’m writing this because I want to emphasize to everyone why I find fairs important in our lives. At least once in awhile, if not every year, you should come and visit your local fair. Here are my reasons why:
- To discover awesome things made by our local artists, craftsmen, artisans, farmers, and everyone who spend (and earn) their living creating something fresh and original that you can’t find anywhere else but the fair.
- To experience something new, like farm life, how life was like outside the urban areas, using all your five senses (maybe six…).
- To connect and keep in touch with the roots of your hometown, whether you were born there, raised there, or simply just visiting.
- To appreciate the things that you have, provided to you by your hometown and the areas around you, rather than moaning and frowning for the things you don’t have.
- To appreciate the simplest things you rarely see or take note in this rapidly changing world.
- To spend time with your family and friends of all ages.
- If you are a creator/builder, you have a chance to exhibit your hard work to the masses by participating in the fair.
After that night at the fair, my visit there actually gave me inspirations and ideas on web projects. For the longest time, I have been thinking about opening up a forum of my own again. Even though I vowed not to own and/or operate a forum community ever again,6 the county fair gave me so many ideas on how my “ideal” new forum should be like: friendly, open, creative, experimental, and… free.
I’ll write more about it in a much later time, most likely here. I actually found the perfect forum script for it,7 but will be doing some beta testing locally to make it work. But this will be in a later project at a later time, as I’ve got other projects that I need to work on as a priority. All I can tell you with this new forum project would be something like… county fairs. 👍
On the sidenote...
- I got laid off, first wave of employees laid off prior to the closing of the company [↩]
- I donated my artwork to my high school, so I no longer have it in my possession. [↩]
- this was decades before the fair decided not to allow cameras/photography on their exhibits, which upset me… [↩]
- well, they’re farm animals… and they’re alive… you expect them to wear deodorant or something? 😞 On the other hand, Mom was not raised in a farm, but Dad was. I was able to experience both and embraced both. [↩]
- A few pictures of the fair are in my Instagram, widget at the footer below. [↩]
- Last time I owned a forum community was back in the late 2000s… after all the stress and the work put into it, I slowly retired from it and vowed never to open another one again… till today, of course… [↩]
- no, it’s not like phpBB or SMF or Vanilla Forums or anything similar to those… let’s just say, something that leans more toward bbPress or Discourse. [↩]