There’s not much more small-town than a county fair. Better: a county fair that’s shared by three counties. Inyo, Alpine, and Mono counties have put this sucker on for over a century. Despite a nasty spat of embezzelment and general corruption, this year’s theme was “Down Home Fun”.
For residents of Mammoth Lakes, there’s always a good reason to head down to Bishop. K-Mart. A different Vons. Restaurants that don’t require a second mortgage to pay the bill. Top it all off with the Tri County Fair, and we dropped the 4,000 feet of altitude via the Sherwin Pass.
An interesting tidbit I learned about this fair: it’s insanely expensive. Admission was around $15 for me and the kids. Walking through the fun house was $14 by itself. If there’s one thing that drives me nuts about Mammoth (and the Eastern Sierra in general) it’s that if you’re not in the backcountry you can bet that your wallet is being actively targeted.
In the Navy I ended up on a drill team, and we ended up in some small Vermont town for a fair similar to this. There were no fancy rides, however. It was also free to attend. I found a large grid on the grass in a fenced area, marked with spray paint, each box about one square foot. An hour later I saw people start betting as a goat was placed in the fence. The mission was to guess what box the goat would defecate in first.
But in general I’d declare our day a success. Anyone with small kids knows that as a parent you’re pretty much always ready for an absolutely horrible day. Someone might lose their hat. Someone might lose their lunch. Someone might crap their pants. Maybe even me.
None of those things happened. Instead we got a chance to poke around a great little rural county fair and for next year we’re better prepared with how to save our pennies, how to properly feed a turkey in the petting zoo, and to be on time to the Turkey Stampede.