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Friday, June 4, 2010

The Del Mar Fair . . .

Every year, around the first of June, the Del Mar Fair folks invite the media in for a free food fest. It's a private party but lots of folks show up, celebrities from tv, whose faces you recognize right away, lesser lights who you think you know, but aren't sure . . . and radio and newspaper types, whose faces you probably don't know.

There must have been 1500 to 2000 media types on the fairgrounds. Our special yellow wristbands gave us free parking, free entry, free food, free drink (water, soft drinks, beer, wine, Tequila, the works).

While much of it is junk food (though tasty) some of it is quite healthy. We had not gone 50' into the midway area when we stopped and had charcoal broiled corn on the cob, grilled pineapple slices, grilled Romaine Lettuce leaf with cheese filling and Chile Rellenos, stuffed with Jack Cheese. Delicious . . . and only slightly decadent.

Evelyn and I took her youngest son, Marty, and his girl friend, Trish. They had never been to a media party and couldn't believe all this food was there for free!

We strolled along the midway . . . played some games (guaranteed to win a prize) . . . waited forever in a long line to visit Heart Attack Cafe that featured such items as Deep Fried Butter (over-rated - tasted kinda like a Churro, with butter inside), Cheese Crisps (deep fried, of course) and Garlic Dippers (ditto). After finally getting our morsels I allowed as how I would never pay for that food nor would I ever stand in a long line for it.

These food items we got for free would be selling regularly for between $4 and $7 and, at around 2000 customers a day during the 16 day fair event, vendors would take in a gross of $8,000 to $14,000 per day. Over a 16 day fair run that comes up to as much as a $224,000 gross. Not bad revenue for a bit over two weeks. I reckon the vendors could afford to give all that free food and drink away tonight.

We had cocktail glasses with slices of apple and caramel sauce, a delicious hamburger with all the fixin's, curly potato chips on a stick, freshly made, salt water taffy, an ice cream bar, hot cinnamon rolls, cream puffs (all very, very healthy and nutritious).

Evelyn, as I knew she would, got stuck on the Balloonarama Booth, where you are seated, you have a "machine gun" that shoots water, under pressure, at a target which, in turn, generates air pressure to blow up the balloon. First balloon to pop wins a prize. I won a prize right away, Evelyn won one a bit later . . . and we were about done. All but Evelyn. She just had to stay at the booth until she won another prize (a cheap plastic necklace of beads, like the ones you win in New Orleans for showing your boobs.) No matter. I felt like I was taking my daughter to the fair. Evelyn was having a ball. The other players started yelling, "Come on, #13, Come on!" cheering her on. (Her seat and balloon number was 13). One guy, a television producer, asked me her name. "Evelyn," sez me. "C'mon Evelyn, c'mon Evelyn." Soon the crowd was chanting for Evelyn. She finally walked away with about four or five bead necklaces and a grin from ear to ear.

It was a good night.

The fair puts this event on in the hope that our audience(s) will be stimulated by us writing nice things about the fair and the attractions.

I just did.

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