Temperatures in Paso Robles are expected to cool off for the last few days of the California Mid-State Fair. But Johnny-come-lately fairgoers in search of shady respite will have no shortage of places to chill out. Here are a few of the best bets for cooling down.
Make some four-legged friends
Seriously, if you can stand the smell — and if you watch your step — the sheep and goat barn isn’t a b-a-a-a-d place to get out of the sun. It’s shady and dark, and it includes several large industrial fans that offer a pleasant, hefty breeze. Just don’t linger too long in front of those fans, however, as they aren’t technically meant for fair patrons. They’re for keeping Diesel, Big Enis, Peanut, Skittles and the rest of the four-legged guys and gals cool.
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Catching shade while catching Frisbees
The K-9 Kings Flying Dog Show has been a popular new attraction at the fair this year, and it’s been covered substantially. But there’s one element that’s been understated: It’s a pretty decent spot to hide from the sun. As fairgoers marvel at the dogs’ otherworldly Frisbee-catching acumen, they can hide out for a good 20 minutes in the attraction’s two covered bleacher stands. Get there early — shows are at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. — or you’ll be relegated to uncovered bleachers, which are hot to the touch. Even the cutest, most acrobatic pups will give you pause (paws?) when it comes to baking in that heat.
Duck in, fill a cup
For fairgoers 21 and older, there are plenty of shady spots to enjoy beer, wine and cocktails — all while taking a break from the sauna-like saunter about the fairgrounds. One of the more popular and versatile spots is the Marketplace building, which prominently features SLO County favorites in wine and beer. Beyond a cold, frothy pint and plenty of shade, fairgoers can relax next to a couple of crisp, whirring fans. Oh, and there’s live music everyday at 4:30 p.m. What better way is there to chill out?
Maynard’s Mountain Waterfall
Technically, fairgoers are asked not to climb into the pond at Maynard’s Mountain Waterfall near the entrance to Frontier Town. But just looking at this flowing, cool, watery eye candy is enough to chill even the most-frustrated fairgoers. Sit back on a bench or railing, close your eyes and let the gentle sounds of flowing water remind you a simpler, more temperate time. It’ll soften the blow when the screeching of children and the sun’s rays zap you back into reality. Get up, get moving, but thanks for dropping by.
Literally almost anywhere
Get creative. When the fair gets crowded, shade can come at a premium. Take a seat under the giant umbrella along the Midway. Stand in the cool shadow of a towering palate of ice stacked in the back of a fair vehicle. Gather under a colorful awning and make friends with fair game operators. (Whether you choose to play is your choice.) Have fun, and remember to stay cool any way you can.
Mark Powell: 805-781-7915