This summer, while visiting California, I got to enjoy the county fair with Rosalie and Ellya. One morning, the three of us climbed into the car and off we went! It was hot, the lines were long, but the excitement of seeing all the art, quilting, animal, flower and garden exhibits kept us in good spirits. Once inside the fair grounds, we headed straight for the arts and crafts building. Every single wall was covered with photographs, drawings and paintings. Tables all around were filled with projects people had created and entered into the competition. Many of the displays were incredibly detailed: quilts, fairy gardens (this one’s for you Marlene!), colored fused glass bowls, even a frog made out of a barbecue! You name it, it was there for all to admire!
Local nurseries do a fabulous job every year inspiring experienced and novice home-gardeners alike, by showing off a variety of “old-fashioned” plants in combination with newer flowers and shrubs in themed display gardens.
My favorite one this year was the “Bee Garden”. I loved the butterfly weed, yarrow, black-eyed Susan interspersed with echinacea , daisies and zinnias. I left with lots of fresh ideas to implement in my own garden. A showcase highlighting bee-produced things like honey, bees-was candles and bee pollen was right next to a wall which looked like a honeycomb with giant model bees. There were hand-outs as well, featuring tips on how to support the dwindling bee population by creating a save and non-toxic home garden environment.
Other garden displays were every bit as beautiful, with drought resistant flowers and grasses, trees and shrubs taking the center stage. Some of them were rather playful!
After lunch, we checked out the animal exhibits, where a steer got a haircut, chickens and roosters clucked and crowed, and some of the Future Farmers of America showed their sheep in a competion.
We cruised past the carnival and watched some teenagers bungee jump. There were kids enclosed in giant plastic spheres, like hamsters in a wheel, trying to move across a large pool of water. Some fair-goers enjoyed the view from above in the ferris wheel.
Food stalls sold everything imaginable: rose-petal ice-cream (divine!), grilled chicken kebobs, funnel cakes, falafel wraps, churros, pizza, spaghetti, Mexican food, roasted corn-on-the-cob and more. Clover-Stornetta, home of Clo the Cow, the mascot of this northern California dairy cooperative had the always popular “get your free ice-cream cone” booth. And just like in years past, the line was very long.
The garden exhibits always have been, and still are my favorite exhibits at the fair. Sonoma County is a beautiful place to visit or call home. And the varied geographical landscapes of this area were incredibly well captured in amazing murals in the hall of flowers!