Hit the fair for cow dogs, corn dogs

July 16, 2012 

The 2012 edition of the California Mid-State Fair opens Wednesday morning at the Paso Robles Event Center. Even though the fair doesn’t open to the public until noon following the cattle drive, my wife and I will be there before 7 a.m. to take our turn working in the Kiwanis food booth next to the Equestrian Center.

This year’s theme, The Great American Road Trip, is apropos in that for us here on the Central Coast it is a very short road trip to take in a country fair that no doubt sets the standard for how fairs should be, providing the latest entertainment, vintage groups, commercial and floral displays and, of course, youth and their livestock, from chickens and rabbits to pigs and lambs.

Having loved my ag shop classes, I like to check out those benches, trailers, barbecue pits and more created by local FFA students. I have built several motorcycle trailers and made repairs on a lot of farm equipment, and I can assure you I have never made a weld look as good as what I observe on those student projects.

The triple-digit weather hit a little early, and maybe we’ll ease into the fair with more moderate temperatures. But I can tell you I’ve gone on some nights where the metal chairs were so hot they burned the bare skin, and then the next night you needed a coat.

I never keep up with modern music. My wife continually reminds me I have not progressed much past 1947 musically. Some of my favorite entertainers over the past 40 years at the fair have included Bob Hope, the Les Brown band, The Beach Boys, Annette and Frankie, the Smothers Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis and George Burns.

I have a delightful photo of my wife talking with Paul Revere, of Paul Revere and the Raiders, who return to perform on the free stage Thursday night. We’ll be there for the Raiders, of course.

I’ve complained repeatedly that the fair is much too noisy, there’s too much booze served everywhere and the crowds can be overwhelming at times, but it is still a welcome summer event here on the Central Coast. Some of the best entertainment can be found in the equestrian and livestock centers, where area 4-H and FFA boys and girls bring their animals to compete for ribbons and make a sale.

A highlight for opening week will be Thursday at 8:30 a.m., when the cow dog trials prove once again that man’s best friend might just be smarter than man.

And I always eat one corn dog knowing I’ll have 12 months for it to work its way out of my system.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades, and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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