Ventura County Fair

Kongo went to the fair today.  Gentle readers may recall that the monkey really, really likes fairs.  Bigley.  His favorite fair is the Del Mar fair in San Diego but since he now lives in Ventura County the local fair has to do.  It’s about a third the size of the Del Mar Fair but it’s a fair and Monkeys can pretty much have fun wherever they are.  This year was special in that he was able to go with his #3 granddaughter.  A Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen look-alike named Persephone.

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Persephone doesn’t have any dragons yet but just give her time.  You cross this two (almost three) year old at your own risk.  And she turns out to be quite a trooper and is independent as all get out.  For example, she wanted to do the Super Slide (ALONE!) and climbed up the pretty high ladder dragging along her own gunny sack while looking with disdain at several little boys bigger than her who were coming back down after chickening out at the top.  Not Persephone.

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As I said, she’s a trooper.  She also handles chickens.  Literally.  She fearlessly climbed up on a table and petted a chicken brought out of the poultry barn for visitors.  Of course mom was on hand to make sure the chicken didn’t get hurt.

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Kongo happens to like chickens.  And not just on the grill.  In general chickens get a bad rap for not being the sharpest pitchfork in the barnyard but where would we be at breakfast time if it weren’t for all those eggs.  And then there are cakes and other baked goods that need chickens to get them going.  Chickens are A-OK in the Monkey’s list of good animals.

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Of course the little cowgirl couldn’t pass by “Happy Day Pony Rides” without climbing aboard Peek-a-Boo and taking her for a saunter around the racetrack.  Naturally she got a photo on a pony by a real cowboy as well as Papa all at the same time.  Pink hats were conveniently provided at the appropriate moment and then taken back but not without some resistance.  Whoever thought it was a good idea to give a little girl a pink cowgirl hat for only thirty seconds?

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But other things were going on at the fair.  Kongo likes Ferris wheels as long as they stay on their supports and don’t go rolling off across the Midway.  Persephone rode these too.

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In the Swine Barn (that’s what they really call it) a judging event was underway for a bunch of 4-H kids and it was fun to watch them trying to herd their pigs about while mothers and fathers screamed support from the sidelines.  They take their porkers seriously in Ventura Country.  There are also pig races at the fair but it was too crowded to get in.  Who knew?  Kongo was never in 4-H.  His father was a newspaper reporter but Mrs. Kongo was in 4-H and her father was a cattle rancher up north in Contra Costa Country.  Mrs. Kongo didn’t grow pigs.  Or sheep.  Or cows.  She did cooking so she did not really appreciate the hurdles the pig herders had to overcome just to get their animals in and out of the arena.

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Besides the swine judging, Kongo likes to watch other people on scary rides.  He doesn’t go on scary rides himself since he reads the news but he does admire the innocent, I-will-never-die young people paying good money to be thrown about and scared.   Notice the girl on the far right smiling at her boyfriend while hanging upside down and falling.  That’s got to be true love!

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These girls below are seconds away from being launched into near earth orbit and it’s amazing to see how calm and collected they are.  Good for them.  Except for the one on the far left they all seem pretty non-plussed about being launched into space without oxygen and a space suit.

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Of course, two (almost three) year olds are eating machines.  They devour hot dogs, ice cream, corn cooked on grills, and more ice cream.  The only thing you can do to counter act all the sugar coursing through their veins is to keep them walking and climbing.  Which is exactly what we did.

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While you’re wandering between food stops, rollercoasters, and pig judging giants go strolling down the midway.  That would be high walkers on stilts.  Even though the woman in the picture below has toy buckets strapped to her head you still have to look up to her.  She’s a stand out in her field.  And did you notice that bungee jumping ride in the background of the picture below?  On the first day of the fair some poor sucker (I mean innocent excitement seeker) got caught short when the ride malfunctioned and he dangled upside down for more than 30 minutes until he was rescued.  This is a true story and it was widely covered in the local news.  This is one reason why Kongo no longer does fair rides.  Stuff breaks and stuff happens.

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And just when you thought nothing was safe anymore, these plastic ducks in a midway side show luring people to throw rings about their heads, three for a dollar, can really suck you in.  $30 into the game Kongo began to suspect it was rigged and he really didn’t want that goofy looking bear prize anyway.  Besides, Persephone’s parents wouldn’t be too happy about a bear in the car on the long drive back to Tampa.  Some monkeys never learn.

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Fairs are fun.  Even smaller than average country fairs like the one in Ventura County are pretty exciting.  Kongo and family got in for “$3 before 3” with kids younger than 9 free.  You can’t go wrong.  The fair runs for another week or so and different specials are offered each day.  If you’re in Southern California be sure to check it out.  Parking is $10.  Check it out here.

Travel safe.  Have fun!

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