Monday, October 17, 2016

Really REALLY BIG!!!

What's better than watching baseball on TV?  The big, really really BIG FRESNO FAIR!!  I know I've said this before, but this is one of the greats of fairdom.  I think it's the third largest in the State of California, and definitely the best one I've ever been to.

Top that with getting to meet Trey, who just happens to be Barbara and Tom Westerfield's GREAT grand baby.  Isn't he just the cutest ever?  Mom Julie took him to the fair with us in his new orange "worker" shirt.
I can't believe how this fair gets better every year, but remains the same size.   It can't expand outside it's current boundaries, yet they continue to add more stuff, much of which is free for the kids.  This is the Cow Palace because inside are all the show cattle, sheep, goats, bunnies, chickens ... you name it, they've got it.  
The fair is a big part of the Westerfield family.  Daughter Jennifer runs the floriculture building, along with her parents Barbara and Tom and Grandmother Pat.  When Trey came along, she became Great Great Grandmother Pat!!  How cool is that??  You'll see her picture at the end of the blog.
You wouldn't necessarily think the floriculture building would be a cool place to visit, but you'd be wrong.  It's air conditioned ... so it's cool ..... and "cool" because of all the amazing plants displayed here.  The bonsai entrants are fabulous, not to mention the orchids, and there is always someone here to help you figure out how to keep them alive.  That's why my little privot is still going strong!
As much as I wanted to go climb all over the fort or the pirate ships with the kids, we opted for the Museum instead.  Museums at the fair??  Previously the Directors Offices, this has become one of two buildings showing the history of Fresno as an Ag town.  Not your ordinary museum, if they had a plow, they hung it on the wall and painted a picture around it of the horse pulling it with the farmer beside.  
This is what it looked like in October of 1940.  Horse racing was the name of the game, drawing people from around the world, including Wyatt Earp who raced here.  Unfortunately, in less than two years it would become a Japanese Interment Camp.  Unlike other areas, neighbors took care of their fields, which were returned to them upon release.  Inside the fairgrounds is a large monument with every single name of those held here, inscribed permanently.  
For my railroad friends, this is the most iconic image of the fair.  To celebrate the Grand Opening (I don't have the year) two engines were set on a mile of track and run at 25 mph towards each other.  The Fair Special and the Raisin Express crashed head on!!  Now THAT was BIG!!!
Just like today, the past was full of carnies and snake oil salesmen.  This is Painless Parker, Dentist.  You could go to the fair and have your teeth pulled.  In one day he took out 357, which he strung on a necklace and wore around his neck.  YIKES!!!
There's another icon at the fair named Boot Boy.  The boy with the leaky boot fountain stood outside the Courthouse in 1895.  I think there are maybe 16 duplicates around the country.
Unfortunately, the courthouse was torn down, but the courtroom itself was saved and placed here, alongside the original boot boy fountain.
This fair director and board are bent on saving everything they can that represents the "old days".  This huge neon sign is one of them.  Anyone driving through Fresno years ago might remember the Hacienda horse and rider.  
So much to see and so little time, but a quick trip through the textile building brought us to this amazing quilt.  Nope, not me ... there's WAY too many tiny pieces that would make me crazier than I already am!!
This however, couldn't be passed up.  I saw these for the first time on Carnival Eats, one of my favorite TV shows.  It's two round churros with ice cream in the middle.  Normally ONE scoop, but Barbara had to share with Tom, so she got TWO scoops.  
Talk about crazy ice cream ... here's a shake for you.  This is only one of many different kinds from Fabes.  Called an NYPD, it's a coffee ice cream milkshake with whipped cream and a donut.  Coffee and donuts for the Police Department?  There were many more varieties, all of which would have made me sick, I'm sure, but wouldn't it be fun in the meantime!!
Here's great great grandma Pat with Trey.  I took a five generation picture for them that I'd love to show you, but they get first shot.  Pat is 96 years old by the way!!  (I stand corrected ... 95)  I can only hope I'm as sharp and spry as she is when I'm only 70!!!!
It really is a great fair, happens every October and should be on your bucket list!!  Don't worry, there are benches and chairs everywhere for your seated pleasure, so you won't be overtaxed!!

Luckily the rain held off until I got home.  When it hit, it landed with such force that the dogs barked like crazy.  I ran to the window, where I heard so much noise I was SURE something had gotten into the house.  Come to find out, when the contractor climbed on the roof, he bent the gutter, which dumped ALL the water right onto my window sills and made a nice lake at the base of the foundation.  That resulted in an 8pm phone call to the contractor.  Hopefully that gets fixed today!!

There's lots more pictures to show, but maybe another day.  I'm going to veg out on the couch for a couple hours before cleaning the gutters.  One of my all time favorite jobs!!!

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