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n713663105_783114_960.jpgThe Orange County Super Fair opened this weekend, bringing its fun-filled, tacky, brightly colored wonders to town for adults and kids of all ages to enjoy. I headed down on opening day to check out the scene.  As soon as I walked in I could feel the magic wafting in the air- The thick sweet scent of cherry syrup,  funnel cakes, and Coppertone filling my nostrils as my ears were equally filled with the sounds of vendors hawking “World’s Best Grandma” t-shirts and home spa systems, gleeful laughter, and marginal but drunkenly sing-alongable musical acts.  Whether you come for the hypnotists, the folk art, the whiplash carnival rides, gargantuan mutant livestock beauty pageants, or to try and feel-up that that girl you met at Summer school behind the Tilt-O-Whirl, the fair has a little bit of something for everyone.

This year’s highlights are a 3-D edu-tainment movie starring Weird Al that was miraculously able to round up comedian Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon from Reno 911, and The Beatles Paul McCartney to fire off fun-facts while super imposed on a mid-90’s era graphics background. There also are the SUPER-competitions, where Super is taken to mean “Freakishly huge or unnatural”, with such promising themes as: “Bake a Giant Cookie Day”, the “Wear Something and Call it ‘Art’ Day” followed by a fashion parade, both a “Big Hair Day” and a “Big Hat Day”, Jr. Magician Day, and in an attempt to compete with the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con- “Dress Like a Superhero Day”.

img_1202.JPGMy personal highlight was my visit to the gallery to check out the art competition entries, which is where you can go to see the work of some of this generation’s greatest undiscovered masters. I found this inspirational painting of a shark about to eat a majestic white dove, just as Jesus was depicted doing in many classical works. He may not be able to turn water into wine, but he can turn the ocean into a wall of 30ft. tall flames.  

The fair has always dazzled me with its ability to mix the questionable with delightful.  Basically, as far as I understand it, it was like reality TV programming before there was television.  A spectacle to assault and amuse the senses.  Yup, all the awful joy of watching The Biggest Loser, Fear Factor re-runs, and Dancing with the Stars without all that channel flipping.  Now imagine watching them while eating a deep-fried Oreo and spinning around in an office chair and you pretty much get the gist of it.  In the past though during its golden era, The Fair used come into town once a year, impregnate your sister, steal your prize winning hog, swindle the money from your pockets, and take with it a limb or two.  Oh how times have changed.

The Orange County Super Fair will be going until Aug. 9th and is closed Mondays & Tuesdays (Noon-Midnight weekdays, opens at 10am on weekends). For more information visit their website.

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Next time, I will be joining the Orange County EpiCrew on a flavor adventure through the wonders and horrors of carnival food.  EpiCrew is a fun group dedicated to exploring new cuisine through cooking and dining out, and where  their mouth goes, the party follows.  EpiCrew also has three other branches in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Hawaii. The group will be meeting at the Super Fair on Thurs. July 16th, which should be interesting because that also happens to be “$1 ride Thursdays”. Either way, I plan to keep going until I pass out. Best day ever, or a recipe for disaster? I’ll update you on how that ends up going.

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If you would like to join me and the OC EpiCrew this Thursday at the Orange County Fair, or get updates for future events in your area, you can check out EpiCrew on their Facebook group page.

  

 by Laura Gaddy