Summertime Food Festivals and County Fairs

To paraphrase the Gershwin hit from Porgy And Bess, “It’s Summer Time and my fingers are greasy.” If you’re not firing up the backyard grill or smoker, and are tired of driving all the way to the pier for a corn dog or poke bowl, squirt on some Nuclear Winter SPF on your puffy white skin and get yourself to a food fest filled with commoners and foodies alike. Indulge like a maniac, or just soak up the good vibes with a simple fresh sandwich and try to enjoy the countless tribute bands (I kid, I kid).

Last week my gal and I took the afternoon off to hit the O.C. Fair, and to our surprise found out that Friday and Saturday afternoons were relatively free of obnoxious crowds, and from noon until 4pm you can purchase ride tickets for only $2.00 a pop. That’s a pip of a deal when you consider that the same rides will usually cost you anywhere from $5 to $7.00 a pop.

I prefer this fair to the L.A. County Fair in Pomona, which is coming in early to mid Sept. The OC Fair is smaller, but there’s still a good amount of things to see and do and it’s kept very clean. It’s usually cheaper as well, however, it may even out once you consider the mileage.

We ate ahead of time, so we avoided the expensive BBQ, giant turkey legs and questionable treats like a chicken sandwich with a Krispy Kreme doughnut for a bun. I did cave in and get some chocolate-covered bacon. It’s a delightful punch to the palate, but not worth the $7.79 they charge for it. If you feel like you absolutely have to try the liquid nitrogen infused popcorn go on Thursday when participating vendors offer smaller portions for $3.00 a go. The O.C. Fair Runs through August 13th. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

This past weekend, July 28th through July 30th, the annual Long Beach Crawfish Festival took over Rainbow Lagoon. Don’t ask me which edition this is, because I couldn’t find that info on ten separate websites. Let’s just say it’s been around long enough to sell out Friday night and jam pack Saturday and Sunday. The ballyhoo touted the Ragin’ Cajun food truck from the T.V. show The Great Food Truck Race, and pan-fried frogs legs with remoulade sauce, but my quick perusal did not spot either of them. We were starving, so we looked elsewhere. BTW, this is probably not the best place to come if you have a powerful rumbling of the belly, because you’ll have to pull out that wallet several times for beer and many other goodies that smack you in the face, like french fries, and Etouffee, and fresh hot beignets .

We stopped at Harold and Belles food truck, and I picked up a healthy bowl of Etouffee over rice and a plate of catfish nuggets. Easily one of the best versions of these treats I’ve had in years. After checking out the kids trampling on the inflatables and watching Cajun line dancing lessons, I hit the main attraction, which was the “small” Crawfish feast, which was approximately 3lbs of crawfish (AKA Mud Bugs) with a small side of corn and red potatoes. I slaughtered the entire thing. We walked off the food for a bit, listening to zydeco bands and watching the kids being fooled at the Magic stage; we rode a great 5D adventure simulator and made a quick retreat home before the Karaoke started.
With a half-off coupon from Groupon it was time and money well spent, plus each attendee gets 3 gratis E-photos. Good Times!


Plate by Plate LA. Saturday, August 5th. KevinEats curates this benefit event, featuring Redbird, Republique, The Wallace, WOLF, and Starry Kitchen. Plate by Plate takes place at 7pm at the Pacific Science Center, Dress code is formal/black tie and tickets are $150 for GA, and $250 for VIP.

Eat See Hear August 5th – Sept. 16th Saturday night outdoor movie screenings on a 52-foot screen with food trucks and live bands in locations like Griffith Park and the Rose Bowl. Tomorrow night: Mean Girls! $7.21 – $21

Taste of Ecuador August 6th This Olvera Street festival includes craft vendors, Ecuadorian food, music, folkloric traditions and even a parade! Free

Festival of India August 6th This annual Venice beach spectacular starts at 10am with the Festival of the Chariots, which has lost some of its splendor by no longer using elephants, but has gained in humanity. The procession of three giant chariots, each dedicated to a different deity is now pulled by hundreds of chanting people from Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to Venice Beach. It ends at a festival of vegetarian food, Indian music, and dance.

Taco Knockout Saturday, August 12th. From 12 noon until 4pm, Thrillist LA brings together dozens great tacos from restaurants like Aqui es Texcoco, MexiKosher, and Slapfish, plus cervezas! Only $35!

BrunchCon LA August 12th and 13th. The 2nd annual BrunchCon takes place at The Reef in DTLA with two sessions each day: from 9:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. OR 1:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Tickets include one tasting from each of more than 50 food vendors plus bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas. General Admission: $60 until July 1st / $65 until August 13th VIP: $85 until July 1st / $95 until August 13th

LA Food & Wine August 24th through 27th. Perhaps the biggest and fanciest event in all of Los Angeles takes over Grand in front of The Disney Hall. Events include “Ultimate Bites of LA,” “Friday Night Market” and two “Grand Tastings” as well as “Power Lunches” all over the city. $125 – $275.

LA County Fair September 1st through 24th. The Fair is closed Mondays & Tuesdays. Come see what weird crap Chicken Charlie’s has deep-fried this year. Salt n Pepa perform opening weekend. $14.

The Taste September 1st through 3rd. Check out our post about the LA Times’ 3-day Labor Day weekend extravaganza!

Dukey Flyswatter

About Dukey Flyswatter

Dukey Flyswatter, (AKA Michael), is a native Angeleno with strong roots in the underground scene since the 70's. He is a screenwriter (Blood Diner, Star Slammer), actor(Surf Nazis Must Die, Betty Page:Dark Angel, etc.), freelance writer. He is best known for his Horror Metal rock group, Haunted Garage, which he founded in the 80's and has now reformed, with him taking his usual role as lyricist and singer.
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