What a crazy 16 months it has been with the rollercoaster ride of coronavirus and a long void of anything fun in 2020. The blackhole of social distance may have ebbed & flowed, but we need playtime and human stimulation to keep us from going nuts. Thank goodness for vaccines! This year the 100-year old L.A. County Fair in Pomona is once again taking a time out, its second summer hiatus. There’s always a drive down to the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, which runs through August 15th this year with some big name concert acts, but if you’re looking for a closer drive and a little more elbow room to breathe, you’re in luck this year- the debut of the State Fair is just down the road in Arcadia at Santa Anita Race Track.
The brand new fair, which opened on July 29th and runs through August 22nd, is full of the typical theme rides, carny games, deep fried Twinkies and corn dogs the length of a grown man’s forearm, but since it is largely unknown it is far less crowded. The musical acts may not be as well known- think Van Halen or Beatles cover bands and mariachi- but they are great fun none the less. A beer tent is set up with live music and a multitude of cool selfie backdrops: wild west saloon, a garden set with swings, a chandelier to “swing” from and the back of an old country pickup truck.
The expected Fair food is out with a vengeance- mountains of fries, funnel cakes and very big pieces of meat. There are about 50 rides and attractions, including three large ferris wheels and a few carnival funhouses. An Extreme Dog Stunt Show features trained dogs performing tricks and a Motocross Stunt Show is quite astounding with motorbikes somersaulting overhead and flying through the air Evil Knievel style.
The Santa Anita State Fair runs Thursdays through Sundays, 12 noon to 10pm until August 22. Admission is typically $12, but a promotion has been doling out FREE TICKETS, so do not hesitate to get yours. Parking is $10 and is worth paying, since neighborhood parking in Arcadia is a long hike. Ride packages can be purchased in advance at the fair’s website. We found it difficult to purchase single ride tickets from the automated kiosks on premises and there were no live ride ticket agents to assist, so take that into consideration as well. During this time of pandemic it is wise to wear masks, whether vaccinated or not, but be aware that at an outdoor event like this, there will be many people maskless. Please stay home if you feel the slightest bit sick and please, please, please get vaccinated if you are not.
The Santa Anita State Fair: Thurs- Sun July 29- August 22, 2021. 12 noon to 10pm. Santa Anita Park, 285 West Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA, 91007. Hotline 626.254.1330