Anyone else ever haunted by the number of times they feel they must emphasize how large the Fresno Fair is? At a certain point, I wonder, who are they trying to convice? Me, or themselves? I mean, I'm quite happy with the length and girth of the Fair. But it's always going on about how much bigger and bigger it is this year than last year. Really? At a certain point, we're all going to have to sit down and tell the Fair that we're very happy with it's size and it really needs to stop obsessing about it. That, or just bite the bullet and go get shaft implants.
It's been a few years since I've last attended our local havest event and quite a few things have changed. Some are somewhat odd, like moving the gem and mineral exhibits, the giant Disney-esque facades for children to run rampant upon and the apparent disappearance of the photography building. Although the biggest dick in the ear is the midway! A buck a frigging ticket?!? And five tickets to ride the boring as crap rides???? I might love me the Zipper, but I'm not dropping 10 bucks to spray my overpriced corn dogs over an appreciative Fresnan public. Epicac is cheaper and more thorough.
But I didn't attend the Fair to wonder at the changes in architecture. Instead I was there to run video for the Diamond Learning Center's band, Diamonds in the Rough. The DLC is a wonderful local group dedicated to assisting and educating the developmentally disabled community. Their motto an admirable one: Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE). Something our school districts could take a lesson from. And the Diamonds in the Rough are a great group of folks, wailing out classic rock favorites to help promote their message of inclusion and dignity. They're a fun group to watch, as you find your ears strangely linked to your heart and they both feel quite happy.
And of course there is the grub. But before I mention the food....$8.50 for a damned beer? Thats a six pack of any beer at any overpriced booze merchant in town!!! How about a little lube, eh? This ain't an Iron Maiden concert at a venue 30 miles from anything, so you've got the crowd over a barrel! There are probably 50 liquor stores in walking distance from the Fair and with a hand stamp, you can take the same time it'd take to get through the beer line, walk to Johnny Quick, score some 40's, chug them in a paper bag and be puking on the overpriced Gravitron before the stroller bearing moms in the beer line get their 14th butt light of the night. (It was REALLY creepy to see the number of baby havin', stroller pushing mommas in the beer line) And besides, Blue Moon isn't exactly my idea of a "premium" beer. It's good, don't get me wrong, but daddy wants a Guinness or a Newcastle if he's gotta pay a premium.
So, boozeless I am. But still there's munchables. Any no, I didn't play Mr. Cliche and go to the Everything Fried booth to find out that fried Koolaid is just flavored batter. But we did at one point grab one of the 3lb shoestring potato bricks, which was nice. They don't par cook the potatoes prior to the full fry, which leaves you with a limper, greasier french fry that harkens back to my Dad's favorite fries at Angelo's. The blooming onion I didn't try, but they appeared to be under-cut and undercooked, so folks had a devil of a time getting the petals off. The corn dogs looked good, but I just can't bring myself to blow 4-6 bucks for a weenie on a stick. Even for the comedy value of a footlong Cajun dog to bash my companions with. The cinnamon roll folks were out in force as well, churning out what are, in my opinion, the finest cinnamon rolls on earth. Forget your Cinnabon and the spoogey icing at the Cinnamon Roll Shop (reviewed last year). They're dense, doughy and sweet without the need for icing, but they do have it available for the type 2 diabetes fans. So good! And to finish off our gluttony tour, we hit up the Indian taco stand. After a good friend made some of these for a party, I've been in love with the cunchy chewey texture of the tortilla and the overloaded cornucopia like presentation. The booth at the Fair didn't disappoint in portion size. And the beans and meat were quite tasty, though I found myself wishing I had some awesome kiwi salsa to perk up the heat. But the one downside was the tortilla. Crispy on the outside it was, but it lacked that cheweyness that I was looking for. Instead it was light and pillowy inside, like a delicate doughnut. It certainly wasn't awful. But it just was a different texture than I was craving. Still, I'll likely put them on my 'Must Eat' list for the future.
One last shoutout needs to go to the awesome lady at the coffee stand by the new wine garden. Not only was she serving a very passable cup of joe, she was also extremely pleasant and chatted us up about the Diamonds show. She even introduced us to some of the kids of the folks who make the uber cinnamon rolls. I think they may have been a little embarassed at their level of celebrity in my eyes.
And so, as the sun sunk slowly into the West, while the Fresno PD officers change into their stab-proof vests and recharge their tasers. We decide that it's the best time to beat feet before the Fresno effect kicked in and the Fair got dicey. Full of pretty good food, eyes stimulated by beautious gems, minds boggled by hard drinking, infant bearing mothers and hearts lifted by a great concert, we bid farefull to the Big Fresno Fair for another year. But seriously, $1 per friggin ride ticket?!? Eat me.