I was invited to Fresno by Barb and Tom Westerfield for the Big Fresno Fair!! Their daughter Jenny is in charge of the Floriculture building and with the help of her parents and Grandmother, they make sure every flower is judged and receives the correct ribbon. If you live in California, you should check this out!! It was more like the California State Fair and promotes agriculture like none I've seen! Unlike our local Merced County Fair, the entries here are spectacular and there are literally hundreds of everything from metal sculptures, huge steel manure spreaders, quilts, photographs, vegetables, wine grapes, garlic, gems and of course sheep, cattle and goats!!! The new CEO John Alkire is passionate about making it better every year. Here's a treehouse with bridges that extend to a waterfall, a pirate ship and a fort. How cool is that??? It's like Disneyland!
This picture shows some of the more recent additions, including gold panning, a medicine show and cow milking barn.
Sleeping bunnies ... how cute is that? Okay, maybe this isn't a good place to take the kids because they will want one ... just buy them the stuffed variety instead.
There was an entire corral full of sheep about to birth during the week of the fair. Here's a brand new baby!!
Goats galore ... you can tell I'm all about the animals.
Here's what I was looking for ... born and raised on a cattle ranch, I spent many long hours with guys like this. My 4-H calf got loose at the fairgrounds and we chased her through the food lines until some nice gentleman grabbed her rope for me. It was a LONG walk back to the tie-rack!!
Just washed and soaking wet, this 1500 pound baby was headed to the hair dryers for a brush and curl!!
Now this would be PERFECT in my back yard!!! It's just amazing to see how creative people are.
The local Gem and Mineral Society gives away polished rocks to all the school kids who are brought to the fair as part of their curriculum. Not just a day off from school, they have to answer specific questions upon their return to the classroom, making it more of a learning opportunity.
Every City around Fresno sets up displays showing what they are known for ... from grapes to garlic to honey and wheat ... I was surprised at the amount of fruits and vegetables coming from this area.
Persimmons ... sorry, I hate them ... but I LOVE to photograph their gorgeous colors!!!
The Fresno Bee sponsors a big contest to see who has the best recycling paper ideas. This is actually a wearable dress!! The things people made from old newspapers were just amazing!! It seems the local schools support the fair also, because they were each represented by sections in the Arts Building. That certainly doesn't happen where I'm from ...
Literally hundreds of quilts hung from the railing around the top of this building, out of reach of kids sticky fingers!! You KNOW this was my favorite!!! However, w a a a y too much work for me!!
The Floriculture building was huge and full to the brim. I've never seen so many bonsai creations in one place ... AND I got a lesson in how to set up and maintain one from the expert on hand. The walls were lined with cactus plants I never knew existed ... and the orchids ... I just couldn't stop saying how spectacular they were!! I also got a lesson on how to keep them alive and well from the local orchid expert!!!
Tom built most of the show cases in this building and took me over to see the miniatures displayed in one of his racks. I said "how cute" ... little dried flower arrangements. WRONG!! Barb showed me later that these 1-2" high arrangements are made from REAL flowers the morning they arrive for judging.
I'm sure one of the biggest reasons this fair is so spectacular is it's big sponsors, Table Mountain Casino and Toyota ... along with the horse racing. Apparently there are no other pari mutual races going on when the Fresno Fair has theirs, making this a huge money-maker as far as the grounds go, but the real heros here are the people of Fresno who are to be commended for keeping it going, participating and supporting not only local agriculture, but the local kids creativity and participation in an event they will remember for the rest of their lives. Support your local kids and keep it going!!
I'm not a gambling person, but coming to watch the horses would be at the top of MY list!
You just never know who you might meet at the fair ... Spiderman came by for a corn dog ... he magically appears from the bushes every year to wow the kids!! Speaking of corn dogs ... that Lobster Corn Dog we had for lunch, prepared by a Russian(?) speaking family, was a crazy taste sensation. It's actually a lobster hotdog dipped in corny goodness and deep fried!! How could you go wrong???
The scarecrow contest was pretty funny ... from first place creatures like this one to sweet-faced farmers carrying piggys, they were everywhere!! Funny ... this one had to have a body guard because the kids kept kicking him every time they walked by!!
My experience wasn't over yet ... but I'll save the rest for tomorrow. Jenny actually got Barb, Tom and I on a special tour of the Fresno Fair museum John Alkire is creating, to be placed in a building on the grounds in the future. Does Wyatt Earp ring a bell???