Free Michael Jackson Rides on Fridays!

…and the winner for “most awkward press release title” goes to the California State Fair with their announcement that their Magnificent Midway will feature 4 rides from Neverland. The first 5,000 fairgoers each Friday will receive a golden ticket for one free Michael Jackson ride.

Stay tuned for our annual coverage of all the Big Fun!

No Mermaids Need Apply

mermaid barI know I made light of the mermaids thing but the larger issue is the proposed $8.6 million city subsidy for the building of the complex. As you might expect, there is a petition out there in opposition to the subsidy. Neighboring businesses argue the subsidy would “bankrupt” their businesses. The Midtown Business Association has collected some documents about the proposal (they call the proposed new bar with swimming girls a “mermaid bar,” which is confusing — if it was truly a bar for mermaids, that wouldn’t necessarily cut into the bottom line for neighboring businesses catering to “normals.”)

Based on the developer’s proposal it sounds like the mermaid bar/mermaid-themed bar is going to be punningly titled “DIVE BAR” and the “adult pizza” (??) joint is to be called “PIZZA ROCK.”

State Fair – Closing Weekend!

Ah, how time flies. This year, the California State Fair had a shorter run than in past years, so we’ve had to pack in our allotment of free concerts, fried food and big fun into only two weeks. As usual, the Fair closes after Labor Day, so make the most of the weekend if you are in town!

There are a few more attractions that I wanted to point out in case you have not had a chance to catch them.

Arial plants a wet one on TracyThe Sea Lion Encounter gives you the chance to play with, take a photo with, and get kissed by a California Sea Lion. All proceeds are for charity, so go take the rare opportunity to smell a little fishy, but in a good way. This exhibit is next to the track, where thoroughbred racing continues all weekend.

The Stars of the Peking Acrobats show is just damn cool. Don’t miss their breathtaking stunts.

Continue reading “State Fair – Closing Weekend!”

Corporate Carnies

It appears to the casual observer that the carnies at this year’s State Fair are a little cleaner than in past years. To the sharp-eyed snark hound, however, it is an obvious sea change in the modern carnival solutions industry.

That’s right. The midway has gone corporate.

All games, rides, and straight-toothed carnies are now provided for the California State Fair by the Ray Cammack Shows corporation or RCS. Take a look around the midway and you’ll see the RCS logo emblazoned on every skee-ball, pop-a-shot, and shoot-the-water-in-the-clown’s-mouth game. Continue reading “Corporate Carnies”

Stickie’s Report on Big Fun – Part 1

I’ve got a lot of random thoughts after the first weekend of the California State Fair, so forgive me if they are a little haphazard.

It appears that the organizers this year had two goals, which I think are both blue ribbon ideas and successes in their implementation:
1) More public participation
2) Be more funny

If you check out the free Official Program included in every Sacramento News and Review (another stellar idea), you’ll see that there are a lot of audience-involved competitions, including the Fair’s Karaoke Championship on 8/30, the Rock Band (as in the video game) Stage, and the State Fair Star talent contest, among more than a dozen others.

You’ll also see more comedy around the park. Funny attractions range from the educational (Sparx Sound Effects Show, one of the many Hollywood-themed attractions) to the wacky (the Traveling Game Show is hysterical) to the just plain weird (check out the creepy singing robot at the SMUD exhibit). And, as usual, Jeremy the Juggler is back, who I think is damn funny and super-talented, calling him a “kids” attraction is a little insulting, in my opinion. Weird Al also made his second appearance in a row, let’s hope he comes back next year. If you weren’t there, you simply have no clue how great his show is.

Now on to the Booze!
Continue reading “Stickie’s Report on Big Fun – Part 1”

Enjoying the Fair for Less

Spend less dough getting into the fair so you have more to spend on the fried dough inside! Here are some ways that the State Fair folks are saving you money this year:

Today is Tuesday, so that means all children 12 and younger get in for free, and those carnival rides will cost you just $1 each today.I LOVE POPPY This applies to next Tuesday, too.

Today, August 19th, is First Responders Day, so all First Responders (in our out of uniform) with proper identification gain free admission. (OK, so I have a First Responder card from my CPR/AED/First Aid/Bloodborne Pathogens certification — would that get me in? They mean firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, and the like, right?) Continue reading “Enjoying the Fair for Less”

AVOID Elk Grove

With the Fair underway, the Sacramento Bee reminds us that there will be a sobriety checkpoint in Elk Grove tonight. Wait, the Fair is in Sacramento, right? Where lots of folks will be drinking? Ok, cool, Elk Grove it is.

The enforcement is part of the statewide “Avoid” campaign funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Interesting slogan. At any rate, if you follow the link on the Bee story (oh, wait, it’s broken, posted on the 13th, too) you will learn more about the program.

The overall goal of the awareness campaign is to let drivers know about the countywide increased enforcement periods and warn drivers that the only way to “AVOID” the county’s law enforcement officers is to drive sober.

Ah, there it is. I get it now. A press release reminds us that party hosts and families must limit drinks to their guests, and to not serve more than one or two over several hours. Stickie, can you hear me?

Be safe out there.

Fair Food Preview

Click here for more picsRunnergirl, Stickie, and I got a chance to peek around at all the food vendors last night at Cal Expo.  We came away with a few deep-fried nuggets of information that we just have to share.

1.  GELATO-That’s right.  The EYE-talian delicacy makes its way to the food midway.  Trust me you can’t miss it.  Even if the place didn’t offer the “World’s Largest Waffle Cones,” you’d never walk by without noting the flesh colored columns.

2.  NEW DEEP-FRIED TREATS- Chicken Charlie, that fried food innovator has outdone himself this time.  Going back to his roots, especially the concept of deep frying things that started out as totally fattening meals to begin with, Chuck has a new lineup of fried fare for the fair.  New this year are deep-fried White Castle burgers, deep-fried pop tarts, and deep-fried Spam with pineapple sauce.  

3.  BBQ BEEF SANDWICH- It’s still in the same place, on the eastern end of the fairgrounds, across from the petting zoo, on the way to the horse races.  It’s unassuming, with the word “SAUSAGE” most prominently lit on the sign, but trust me, you need to go and get a BBQ beef sandwich on a lard roll with homemade chips this year.  I’m not suggesting, I’m commanding.

State Fair Opens Friday

poppyIf there is one thing you can count on, it is the presence of your old pal Stickie at the California State Fair. I’ll try to keep you updated about cool stuff, but I urge you to check the daily schedule at their website to keep abreast of the hundreds of events.

Wednesday at midnight is the last day to buy discount tickets, including the $36 adult season pass. This weekend features Smashmouth (who have apparently moved to Stockton and have quietly been playing with local acts when not on tour), The Doodlebops (who I find to be a creepy Canadian offspring of The Wiggles and GWAR, but kids seem to dig them) and the fantastic Weird Al, who very amusingly got blamed by local morons for attracting some unsavory elements to last year’s closing weekend because he is a rapper.

Thank You Note to the Sacramento Bee

ScoopyHere at the ‘Rag, we are quick to take shots at the Bee, but sometimes slow to give credit where credit is due.  So please allow me to take this opportunity to thank the Bee.  For what, you ask?  For having the good taste to pick my name in their drawing for free “Gold Circle” tickets to the Weird Al show.  That’s right, Mrs. Eats and I were right up front for the glory that is Weird Al Yankovic.  Thank you to Scoopy and all the folks at the number one news source in Sacramento.

The concert was, to put it mildly, badass.  Weird Al went for almost 2 1/2 hours, covering recent hits, old favorites and everything in between.  Sitting next to us were two kids, neither more than 9 years old, who told us that this was their first rock concert.  The Mrs. and I were very excited to explain to the kids how things work, like the fact that “rock” concerts don’t always start on time.  Thirty years from now, these men will be talking about how their first concert ever was Weird Al, and I hope they think fondly of “super cool” old people that sat next to them and showed them the ropes.

By the way, we managed to get out of the fair mere minutes before they broke out the riot gear.  Thanks Bee.