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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Kate and Papa do the Fair

Fair Game Tom NewThere’s nothing like the Orange County Fair, going on now through August 11 in Costa Mesa.

I got to enjoy it recently with my 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter, Kate. First stop was the Petting Zoo. And why not. Of course we bought our two ice cream cones filled with animal food and ventured into the pen.

There were all kinds of animals, and Kate, having two large dogs at home, wasn’t afraid of any of them. We took them on one-by-one. 

“What’s this?” I asked her as she hugged the first comer. 

“Papa, a goat,” she exclaimed.

As we moved through each of the animals, she identified them all.

“Cow, pig, sheep,” she said.

Then, a llama approached. She looked up at it with a quizzical look on her face, while feeding it some food.

“What’s this?” I asked.

With a big smile on her face, she looked back and blurted out, “It’s a giraffe!”

I guess the long neck fooled her. But I couldn’t argue.

We then left there and went to the always popular Centennial Farm to check out the newly arrived baby piglets and then hit some fair food.

We ventured through the sights and sounds of the arcade game area and listened to the vendors barking at us to take our turn. With amazement, she looked up at the rides that rocketed high into the night sky.

Oh, and the pony rides were a must. God only knows where she got the idea, but after a lap or two she put her hands up in the air, letting go of the reins and smiled at this huge accomplishment.

Fair Game Kate on pony

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Kate doing her best Annie Oakley

Finally, we arrived at the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs. Kate didn’t utilize the convenient grandstand seating offered to all guests, instead choosing to sit in the hay and dirt on the race track edge. And why not? Each time the pigs raced by, she could almost reach out and touch them, and each time they did, she looked back to me with a smile.

Yup, the fair is fun. But I have to tell you, it was even better with a 2 1/2-year-old in tow.

The good news for you is that there still are two more full weekends and a lot more fun out there, so I encourage you to get on out. Take a little one, you won’t regret it.

• • •

Don’t forget, they’re selling books today and tomorrow at the Central Library. In fact, tomorrow it’s “2 Bucks a Bag” all day from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The books are used, and the money raised goes to the Friends of the Library.

• • •

If you like lobster, you need to buy your tickets to this summer’s Lobsterfest set for Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Civic Center Green.

Here’s what a ticket buys you: a whole Maine lobster, of course, flown in fresh from the East Coast the day of the event; a NY strip steak, red potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, a summer salad, a freshly baked roll and dessert.

You also get to enjoy live entertainment provided by the Pinch! Me Band.

Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for potential Leadership Tomorrow candidates, make dreams come true for Fund-A-Wish for the Orange County and the Inland Empire Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year the underwriters are also announcing a new philanthropic partner in the Les Dames d’Escoffier Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter to raise funds for culinary scholarships.

It’s a great event. And obviously, the food is good. For tickets go to www.lobsterfestatnewportbeach.com. Do it now, as it will sell out, and you must purchase your tickets in advance.