A Fair to Remember

As summer barrels toward its inevitable end, the sounds of distant screams and the smell of fresh funnel cake moves through the warm August air. Currently in its second and final week, the Ventura County Fair attracts residents for heart-stopping rides and giant $10 corndogs. But the draw of the fair is more than just rides and food, it’s about spending time with old friends, making new friends, and watching miniature pig races. From the top of the Ferris wheel to the bottom of a bag of kettle corn, there’s no shortage of excitement.

The fair’s happiest visitors are the children. With multiple petting zoos, merry-go-rounds, and fun houses, the fair is the perfect place to bring an energetic youth. Kids can enjoy a variety of carnival games and leave the park with a stuffed TV character or an over-sized banana pillow. When your tickets run out, there is plenty to explore in the park’s several warehouses, from giant avocados in the Agriculture Expo to art exhibits and photo galleries. As dusk settles in, the stage fills with various bands like War and Barenaked Ladies for family concerts over deep fried Oreos and giant slushies.

Unfortunately, this year’s fair has also been mired by violence. There have been two shootings within two weeks. The first was the afternoon of Sunday, August 3, when an alleged dispute broke out between police officers and a motorist, who proceeded to strike an officer with his truck. Open fire ensued. Both the driver and the officer are expected to recover. On the night of Wednesday, August 1, the body of an 18 year-old was found in the Ventura River bed on the train tracks just outside the fairgrounds. The increased police presence is noticeable.

Despite the violence, the fair will continue through the rest of the week. The carnival rides start at 12 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m., when the day concludes with a spectacular fireworks show that can be seen from most of Ventura. Tickets are $12 for adults 13 and older, $9 for children ages 6 to 12 and seniors 65 and older, and free for children ages 5 and younger and seniors 100 and older. After the fair closes on August 10, you’ll have to wait until next year for funnel cake.