Big week for music at The Fair

A preview of the mainstage musical acts during the last week of the California State Fair.

This is it, folks, the week that the California State Fair brings out the big guns on the Golden 1 Stage. Well, more like medium range artillery. I can’t say that I am thrilled about any of these acts, but am curious to see what kind of show they will deliver and they should each please their target audience. Hey, I was pleasantly surprised last week by the Hullabaloo Music Festival and I didn’t hate Salvador, so I am going in with an open mind.
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Some State Fair Weirdness

Put this on the ballot - When the budget is late, we have to fly this above the Capitol.
Put this on the ballot - When the budget is late, we have to fly this above the Capitol.

As encouragement for you to head over to Cal Expo for the California State Fair, I will entice you with some little tastes of what you could be enjoying if you were there right now. But first, a huge congrats to the state’s most famous purveyor of deep fried treats and his new bride! Chicken Charlie got married at The Fair today on the promenade stage in front of his food stand. The wedding cake? Totally fried cheesecake, and it was delicious. Mazel Tov, and thanks for sharing the special day with us!

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State Fair Drinking Guide

Your guide to the best beer and wine at the California State Fair!

The California State Fair's incredible wine garden
The California State Fair's incredible wine garden

The California State Fair was created by the legislature in 1854 to celebrate and promote California agriculture and industry. I choose to celebrate The Fair’s historical origins by seeking out the finest alcoholic beverages in the realm of Cal Expo. If you choose to join me on this quest, print up this handy guide to the best beer and wine offered at The Fair.

Since 1854, The Fair has honored California’s winemakers in what is now North America’s oldest wine competition. This year, almost 1200 wines were designated as bronze, silver, gold or double gold award winners. At the Save Mart Wine Garden, you can choose from more than 100 winning wines. 100! How can you decide? Before I get to the recommendations, I’ll give you tip #1. If you plan on enjoying more than a few wines, invest in the souvenir wine glass. For $5, your wine purchase will double from a 5 oz pour in a plastic cup to a 10 oz pour in a reusable, stylish glass.

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David Cook gives The Fair what it needs

David Cook, in a photo that has been approved by his corporate overlords
David Cook, in a photo that has been approved for publication by his corporate overlords
Friday’s opening of the State Fair was capped with an appearance from American Idol David Cook. This was, without question, one of the funnest musical moments I have witnessed at The Fair in years.

Why? RELEVANCE! Most bands that play The Fair are either blasts from the past or up and comers. Cook is NOW, baby. The vibe from the audience was amazing as Fairgoers had the rare privilege to see someone playing Cal Expo whom they are listening to, today. And, as icing on the cake, he and his band met expectations and rocked the house.
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Your State Fair Dining Guide-Part 1

deepfriedwhitecastle1-225x300One of the best things about the state fair is the deep fried edible glory that accompanies it.  It’s like junk food Christmas. However, there are so many options throughout Cal Expo that you’re just as likely to waste those precious calories that you’ve been hoarding all summer on just average junk instead of on incredible junk.  Hopefully this little list will help you from stepping into a grease and candy filled pothole with your dining choices.

Best Meal: BBQ Beef sandwich at “Buns on the Run” – Still the best food seller at the fair, this little trailer on the east side of the park, just across from the petting zoo with the word “Sausage” emblazoned on it’s sign doles out the best meal on the grounds. The bbq beef is sweet and succulent, the roll is incredible, a deep fried masterpiece of dough science, and the homemade potato chips on the side are just awesome. Also, this place does a damn fine boneless rib sandwich.

Best Deep Fried Delicacy: Deep Fried Oreos at Chicken Charlie’s– Charlie’s has been setting the standard in deep fried audaciousness for years now. I was a huge fan of the fried Elvis — a battered and fried peanut butter and banana sandwich — but it was taken off the men after the piping hot pb sent 158 people to the local burn unit. Now, I go for the Oreos with chocolate sauce. The small cookies have a great filling to breading ratio and they manage to stay fairly crispy inside the batter shell. However, if you’re really daring and haven’t eaten this year , try the deep fried White Castle Hamburger.

Best Sweet Treat: Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls– Two stands, one located in the county exhibit building, the other on the east side of the consumer pavilion (aka crap hut) , dole out some of the best cinnamon rolls in the world. The syrupy white frosting and tender cinnamon ladened dough is on par with the finest Austrian pastry. It’s only improved by asking for extra “gunk,” which is the cinnamon, sugar and butter on the bottom of the pan scraped up and sprinkled on top of your roll. Continue reading “Your State Fair Dining Guide-Part 1”

CA State Fair -Open!!

Long time readers of The Rag know that we are big fans of the Big Fun. As you read this, the 2009 California State Fair is open for business! Check us out for tips and reviews over the next couple of weeks.

Why do we love the State Fair? It is difficult to succinctly say, but it has something to do with loving California. The fair is a great place to learn about the myriad reasons that make California the greatest place in the world to live. Check out the agriculture, the art, wine, the thrills, and the spirit of fun that permeates Cal Expo for the next few weeks. It is especially obvious if you have been a patron at other fairs around the country. Every fair has rides and shows, but we’ve got bits and pieces of California wrapped up in a microcosm.

This year’s theme is Weird, Wild and Wacky, which I hope the organizers have taken to heart. Amid a down economy, a dysfunctional government and a dry summer, we need some fun here in Sacramento. Let’s party.

This Friday, the fair features American Idol David Cook on the Golden One Stage. For those of you that scoff at the contest, you have not seen that Cook is a soulful rock musician with a good band, decent songwriting and a strong possibility at a (gasp) legitimate music career. I’ll be there to see how he does.

Free Michael Jackson Rides on Fridays!

MJ
…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!