It’s the start of the school year and the unofficial end of summer but the good news is that’s just when the L.A. County Fair arrives for its annual 18-day funfest. The 2008 Fair welcomed 1,303,655 guests through its gates during its 86th anniversary edition, Sept. 5-28.
The Fair opened Friday, Sept. 5, with $1 admission through 5 p.m., and a full complement of promotions, savings and discounts.
Programming included an eclectic concert lineup, horse racing and exhibits including Going Green: Making a World of Difference, a Hawaiian-themed Flower & Garden Pavilion and perennial favorite FairView Farms. Ray Cammack Shows filled the carnival for its 24th year bringing back the favorites and a new addition, Sky Flyer. Sixteen days of live horse racing, presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, finished with a handle of $99,932,239.
There were 11 nights of extraordinary concerts joined by four action-packed Adrenaline Nights, collectively forming the End of Summer Concert Series presented by Toyota. A diverse and energetic lineup drew huge numbers of fans. The overwhelming popularity of the featured entertainers resulted in the series establishing an all-time high in concert attendance and ticket sales.
Going Green: Making a World of Difference returned with timely and invaluable information, services, products and special activities for kids on how to preserve and protect our precious resources. Going Green was presented by Mohr Power Solar Inc.
The Millard Sheets Center for the Arts, presented by Farmers Insurance Group, spotlighted HOOFPRINTS: The Horse in Art, Legend and Action with a complementary HOOFPRINTS Redwood Corral that showcased a different breed of horse each day.
Winter Wonderland, presented by AT&T, brought back the snow fall, ice skating and sledding for a cool, fun September experience. The Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Marketplace, presented by Ralphs, offered samples of award-winning wine, spirits and olive oils, and lively and informative classes about wine and olive oil presented by industry experts.
Bark Park debuted to the delight of guests with dog shows, demonstrations, puppies, products, services and information. Bark Park was presented by Canidae®.
Habitat for Humanity constructed a home to be moved to a permanent Chino Hills location and youngsters explored Wild Things: Backyard Fun in America’s Kids, presented by King Taco.
Culinary Styles presented demonstrations and competitions and the time-honored tradition continued for the ribbon winners. Culinary Styles Gourmet Kitchen was presented by Sparkletts.
The Fair offered a multitude of opportunities for Fairguests to save including Wednesdays Senior Days, with $6 admission, and College Days, observed Thursdays, offering $5 admission. Wednesdays and Thursdays provided the fun $5 after 5 p.m. promotion presented by DISH Network, and AT&T, PFF Bank & Trust and Cal National Bank, and Ralphs Grocery Company offered discount programs. McDonald’s Wednesdays provided an admission and carnival wristband discount. The Fair contributed a portion of the proceeds from the popular promotion, resulting in more than $50,000, to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California. Free Fridays for ages 12 and younger with a paid adult came on board.
The FairKids Discovery Club hosted more than 100,000 youngsters free of charge from Southern California elementary and middle schools for a day of fun and edu-tainment.
Eighteen communities were honored with their day at the Fair and a community hero celebration that honored an adult and young adult hero from each participating city. The program was presented by the Los Angeles Times. A Day for Heroes honored active military, reserves, police, fire and paramedics. Contributions were also made to the American Red Cross from that day’s regular adult admission. The Fair held its first Blood Drive in conjunction with the American Red Cross Tuesday, Sept. 9, offering free admission to donors good for Wednesday, Sept. 10.
Dale Coleman, vice president of sales, marketing and creative programming said, “This year especially the L.A. County Fair provided folks with the opportunity to put aside the stress of the real world. We saw a lot of happy faces. We will be ready to do it all again beginning next Sept. 5.”
Fair officials convey thanks to all who attended this year’s event. Tentative dates for the 2009 L.A. County Fair introduce a Labor Day weekend opening Saturday, Sept. 5, through Monday, Sept. 7, before resuming the Wednesday through Sunday schedule, Wednesday, Sept. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 4. The Fair will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Visit the Web site at www.lacountyfair.com.