Musings: Swooning over the CA State Fair

Another year, another CA State Fair!


Just living my best life possible, one fried thing at a time! I can’t really say much that I haven’t already said over the last few years: 201620152014, and another 2014. But what I can do, is share my mostly food adventures from my two visits from this year!

I really love their hashtag this year, #LiveInTheMoment! Don’t we all need to do that. It really should be something we strive for, especially since all of our gadgets (re: screen time) are so prevalent these days!

On our first visit, we went on a weekday afternoon with L, J’s Mom, his aunt, J, and myself. The crew was the same as last year, except it wasn’t as hot this time around. We of coursed snapped a few pics to memorialize our yearly trip. Poppa Bear gracious purchased us a sweet package that came with admission, parking, and one Monorail ride. So, we decided to take the 10 minute ride on the Monorail and peep out what was happening. Then we took some of my mandatory photo booth photos, before we made our way to grab a snack.

I wanted something to eat, as did J. The rest of the crew wasn’t too hungry yet. I grabbed my beloved Cheese on a Stick. Yes, I know I can get that at the mall, but I don’t. There is something just a little more magical about them from the fair. J grabbed the corn rolled in Hot Cheetos. Of course I had to snap a pic with it, even though I would never take one bite of that thing!

We walked around so more, L rode tons of rides until we told her she had to eventually eat dinner. It was getting late. On our way to get food I saw a couple holding a ridiculously huge carnival prize and knew I had to at least ask if I could take a pic with it. Luckily, they were super cool about it and J snapped a quick pic of me with it. Again, I fake the funk when it comes to spicy, but this thing was too epic to pass up! And yes, I ran after this couple and politely asked if I could take a pic with this. How could they say no?

I was having the hardest time being decisive, so as you guessed – I went to multiple food stands. I walked all the way to my beloved Soft Rolled Taco, which are a Ganeeban Family tradition. I don’t know what it is about those rolled little things that we always have to have. I knew two wouldn’t fill me up, so I also grabbed Chicken Pad Thai (not pictured, only did an IG story on them) to share with J. Had ordered the huge block of french fries draped in cheese sauce, while he also split a cheeseburger with his Mom. The other two munched on 1/4 lb hot dogs! We apparently forgot drinks, so J grabbed us a Watermelon Agua Fresca, which was amazing.

The rolled tacos are consistently good each year, for how simple they are. And yes, the paper always sticks to the damn tortilla and they are always the messiest things ever. The noodles of the Pad Thai were tasty, but I didn’t like how they just threw some chunks of chicken on top. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t order that again. The french fries were too soggy for my liking, especially since the one they have on display are super crispy, I was let down by it! I wish I could guzzle the watermelon drink daily, it is amazing!

For the second year in a row, we double dated with our friends Alex and Melanie to the Fair. Melanie always hooks Alex up with birthday State Fair tickets and they’ve invited us to join them the last two years. I met up with the group right after work AND annoyingly packed the wrong pair of shorts. They were so tight, I was relieved I could even button them! Ugh, I didn’t want to waste 30 to 45 mins driving home then back to Fair, so I rocked muffin top all night :/

I found them near the farm animals. I really wanted to stop for a cold treat before I found them, but I just looked at my options along the way. When I found them, we looked at a few more animals. Then we found the babies, gotta love the baby animals! They kept joking about milking the goat AND finally I just went up and did it. None of them wanted too, but they kept trying to get someone to do it. I went up and did it on my first try. It was pretty cool, even though I was terrified it would kick me. It twitched right before I grabbed the teat and I almost bailed! I definitely flinched! HAHA!

After I washed my hands very well, we went to do the other things. Melanie grabbed a Dole Whip float and then I dragged the group to go get my beloved churro gelatto amazingness. Yes, I had dessert before dinner! We did more walking and hanging out, enough to work up an appetite for everyone. I did also partake in another Ganeeban Family tradition, I bought CA Lottery scratchers, which I waited to scratch when we were eating our food. It was killing me to not scratch them right away.

I had eyed a Gyro that I knew I wanted for dinner. Sadly, I thought it came with french fries but it didn’t. But luckily, J has his eyes on the Philly Cheese Steak Fries. Melanie and Alex shared the largest baked potato with pulled pork and BBQ sauce. Again, we didn’t buy anything to drink, so after all the scratchers were scratched and dinner was eaten we walked to the same cart to get the Watermelon Agua Fresca! This time I was a pro and asked for light ice. Except, it was really sweet this time around, which really made me crave water. But it was still tasty!

We saw exhibits, they drank some beers, we saw more exhibits, and we walked until all of our legs were sore. We also took a ride on the Monorail, since Melanie’s package came with one ride ticket. Alex doesn’t like heights, so he didn’t want to try most of the rides in the Carnival area.

I’m curious, what are your yearly CA State Fair traditions? Do you go every year or just some years?

One cool thing they launched this year was the $2 Taste of the Fair items. Sadly, they are only available on Wednesday and Thursdays from 11AM to 4PM, which never coincided with when we were there 🙁

Another Pro Tip for you, right as you enter the Fair at the Main Gate there are about four drink vending machines to the left. They are near the ‘Lost Kids’ section, bathrooms, and lockers. These machines house the most affordable beverages. $2 bottles of water and a variety of other options, versus whatever hiked up price you’ll pay at the food stands. Also, these machines take credit cards. Say whaaat?

Here is some random info, in case you’re still going to visit this year. You have until July 30th to get your fair going, fried food eating situation ON!

Cost: $12/person, plus discounted rates for Children and Seniors
Dates: July 14th – 30th, 2017
Parking: $15/day, *Cash ONLY
Main Gate – Monday – Thursday: 11 AM – 10 PM, Friday – Sunday: 10 AM – 10 PM Carnival – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 2 PM – 11 PM, Tuesday: 11 AM – 11 PM, Friday – Sunday: 11 AM – Midnight

Hopefully those basic tips help if you are still planning to go for the next four days or so!

Here are a few of my favorite things and traditions when I’m at the Fair, year after year:

Rolled Tacos
The Ferris Wheel
Kettle Corn (but the old couple food stand is no longer there)
Photo booth pics (black and white preferred)
Over-priced pics when you enter the Fair
People watching
All the food
Seeing my Dad get excited to work here every year
The Golden Bears
Cheese on a Stick
Cotton Candy, trying to see an animal give birth live
The USPS exhibit and seeing what fun stamps are for sale
Wine slushies
Wine area (the wine tasting event is pretty amazing too)
Some of the performers, like Brian McKnight this year
The Hypnotist, even though the old dude was the best and a Fair staple
Monorail, memories of working 18 hour days in the heat!
Whatever the new food trend is for the year

I’m sure there is plenty more I could list, but those are some of my fave things that I enjoy going to the fair to find/eat/do. Like I’ve said a bunch of times, I love the fair. Yes, it’s extremely hot. Yes, it’s extremely crowded. Yes, it’s extremely expensive. But the nostalgia and new memory making moments we have each year bring me back. Whether it’s with my fam, with J, with friends, or with the Girls – I always have an amazing time. Each experience is different, despite being a little less poorer after you go. But as the Capitol of California, I am always happy that we get to host the State Fair.

If I haven’t convinced to go this year yet, nor have my food pics, then I guess it just isn’t your thing. Despite if I cannot fathom that idea or notion of NOT going! I guess you leave more for the Fair junkies like myself!

I’ll forever CA State Fair…

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