Posts Tagged 'County Fair'

August 2013 is Fair Month

RamI love going to the Sonoma County Fair. This year’s Fair was focused on “Home Spun Fun”.  I love the emphasis on home and fun because that is what the fair is really about.  While it is mostly the same each year, the flower gardens, the pictures, the quilts and the animals are different.  My favorite is the roses.  But a close second is the Hall of Flowers with the gardens.  The theme this year is “Backyard Blossoms” and the flowers were magnificent.  The Men’s Garden Club out did themselves and took home the Best In Show trophy.  What a spectacular display of plants!  My favorite was the wall of succulents with a water feature made of quarter inch mesh screen.  Simple and inexpensive with a real impact.  I would love to have this in my backyard.     Succulent wallGail with arrangementThe rose show was once again dominated by my wonderful friends of Redwood Empire Rose Society.  Gail Lee brought home the Best in Show for her arrangement.   Each year the Rose Society has an information table during the rose displays to answer questions on roses and keep the displays watered.  We got one new member this year during the fair which is always a bonus.  I love this group of people.  Many blue ribbons were given out and the information table was well visited even though we were allocated space behind the jams, pies and sewing projects.

Apple PieSpeaking of pies, the Gravenstein Apple Fair was in Ragle Ranch Park this last weekend.   Visitors were greeted by the Patrick Amiot ram pictured above and the park was filled with artisans, chefs, antique apple machinery and bands.  It was the County Fair petite!  The one thing that the Apple Fair had that was not available at the county fair was homemade apple pie from the Community Church of Sebastopol.  I must admit that it was my lunch that day!

A benefit of my new home is that I can walk to Ragle Ranch Park and I do so about three times a week.  I took advantage of the proximity to go to the Apple Fair and avoided the parking struggles.  They do have parking within the park but it is $7 and the cars parked outside of the gates reached almost to my home.   I am loving living in Sebastopol.

Walker Apple Display at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

Walker Apple Display at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

How is the economy in Sonoma County?

Friday night Tom and I went to the Sonoma County Fair and attended the Youth Livestock Auction.  Our first observation was that there were many regular vendors that we just could not find.  For many years we had stopped at the Tuff Shed display and looked into the cost and discount that was available for Fair attendees.  We could not find them this year.  There wasn’t even an unmanned display.  No Tuff Shed booth means no discount for us and we thought that this might be the year to get a shed and close out or storage unit where we store Christmas decorations and staging materials.  The busiest booth was the Clover Dairy booth that was giving away ice cream cones.  Few people were buying.  Next on our agenda was the dinner for the Youth Livestock Auction.  This dinner is a thank you to the previous year’s buyers and bidders.  Last year we purchased a lamb.  Previous years we have purchased either a lamb, steer or hog – sometimes we bought two animals – so we are invited and we take our daughter and her husband so that they too can enjoy the experience of the fair.  This is always our favorite part of the Fair.  There is a great meal of steak, baked beens and Ceasar Salad topped of with cheesecake.  Wine flows freely and a good time is had by all.  The tables have historically been topped with promotional gifts from local businesses that prove to be useful throughout the year.  This year there was no check-in table.  There was nothing on the tables but the plastic table clothes.  Less than half of the people that usually attend were there.  There was plenty of tritip but the kids serving the pre-dinner sausage were clear that filling everyone up with sausage was part of the plan.  It was less than usual all the way around.  The auction was painful.  The bidders’ arena was less than a third full.  The grand champion went for $7.50 a pound and the next champion went for $2.50 a pound.  These are very low numbers.  While the Press Democrat stated that the tears were for the loss of the animal, I can assure you there were tears for the lack of income.  Many of these teens look to the profits on their steers to bolster their college funds or buy a car.  They love these animals while they are raising them but after the first year, they know that this is a business proposition.   There were no smiles amongst the students and their parents who have seen the hard work that they put in all year.  It was a sobering event.

The economic news in the papers is on the upside.  Thankfully, houses are beginning to sell more quickly.  The unemployment numbers are going down but that could be people giving up on looking.  The stock market is recovering but we all know how fickle the market it. 

I am a bottom line kind of person and looking around the Fair, economic recovery is still in the future.


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