Two small girls are jumping up and down in the Typhoon line. “Typhoon!” they scream excitedly. This is the first year they are tall enough to ride the whirling, honking Typhoon. Hair flying, mouths open in shrieks of terror/joy, they fly around the platform in their silver car, trying to be brave enough to put their hands up. Others standing in line for the Orbiter follow the high-speed whirling, up and down motion with their heads, wondering if the corn dogs they just finished will stay in their stomachs.
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If you haven’t been to the fair in years, this may be the year to reconnect. This year’s fair begins with a full moon and ends with Father’s Day, the weather will be clear and warm and there is plenty to see and do.
Carnival workers call enticingly from games in the midway. There is the usual line to slam the hammer down to show strength. Can you ring the bell or are you just a “tough guy?” There is a trick to playing most of the games and the workers will gladly show you how its done. Just aim for the little open space in the center of the three bottles to knock all of them down with your softball — much easier said than done — but there is always someone walking around the fair with a huge stuffed banana to show you it can be accomplished.
With a full moon to lend romance, a kiss at the top of the Ferris wheel is mandatory, but if you prefer to remain earthbound, there is plenty of room on the grass to enjoy the fair’s non-stop entertainment. Swoon to crooners, sway to the blues, dance to rock and roll or boot scoot to country — tribute bands, party bands, rockers and solo acts offer something for every age group and taste in music.
Be a part of the fair with contests galore: Mutton bustin’ for the little ones, funnel cake eating contests, wheelbarrow races on Saturday night, “Humpz and Hornz Bull Riding” on Friday, El Dorado Idol, cupcake decorating, the father and child look-alike contest on Sunday, big wheel races for 4-7 year olds, a Teen Jam on Friday, hay bucking and the wonderful Miss Teen El Dorado pageant.
If you had a rough week, the fair even offers a way to get rid of all that angst: for a dollar a swing, Hangtown Auto Body will let you sledgehammer a Cadillac to death with all the proceeds going to MORE. Do good and feel better at the same time.
The sound of baaing and bleating carries over the grass, letting you know where you can see some of the best animals in El Dorado County and find out the many things 4-H does at the fair. Rabbit costume contests, pack goat and pygmy goat shows, ranch horse shows, llama and alpaca shows, greased pig contest, ranch sorting and other events join the popular and fun Junior Livestock auction.
The smell of cooking food may lead you to the Farm to Fork Cooking Stage where you can watch or participate in ice cream making, cupcake decorating, making turkey sliders or learn about how to use spices and low sugar cooking.
If you need a break from the sun, wander over to the “Adopt a Spot” gardens by the Floriculture Building. Relax in the shady quiet of the gardens and water spots, check out the extravagant display of bear’s breeches.
The exhibit buildings with their displays of new and innovative products, showcases of local artistic talent, award-winning quilts, prepared foods and wine winners are other great ways to enjoy the best of El Dorado County and keep cool too. The El Dorado County Historical Museum is open during fair giving history buff and railroad-loving dads a real treat.
Forget the ugly tie or soap-on-a-rope and bring Dad to the fair. There is a lot to do at the fair this year, starting at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and continuing every moment until midnight, 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets are $9 for those 13 and older; $7 for 7- to 12-year-olds and $7 for seniors 60 and older. Attendees in uniform are free. Free shuttles bring fairgoers to and from the Main Gate on Placerville Drive with pickups at the Placerville Library and Government Center on Fair Lane; the Walmart Park and Ride and Prospector Plaza on Missouri Flat Road.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.