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Los Angeles County Fair begins Friday at Fairplex in Pomona

 

The LA County Fair will run for 23 days. Courtesy Photo
The LA County Fair will run for 23 days. Courtesy Photo

The Los Angeles County Fair begins its 23-day run Friday at Fairplex in Pomona with a nighttime Chinese lantern display and an expanded farm area but without a staple of 75 years, horse racing.

The fair’s horse racing dates have been shifted about 30 miles southwest to Los Alamitos Race Course, where an 11-day meeting will open Sept. 5.

Fairplex CEO Jim Henwood described the move as a “strategic decision for the continued growth of the industry.”

Fairgoers can watch telecasts of the races at the Finish Line Sports Grill, Top of the Park and Longboard Bar & Lounge at Fairplex and bet on them.

Postcards good for admission to Los Alamitos Race Course will be available at the fair, while racegoers can get similar postcards at Los Alamitos Race Course for admission to the fair.

New attractions at the fair’s 92nd edition include Luminasia, an array of custom-built Chinese lanterns that will be making its California debut.

Nearly 50 artisans traveled more than 7,000 miles from Zigong, China, to transform the fair’s hillside into a nighttime attraction depicting such iconic landmarks as the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower and the Hollywood sign, along with giant dragons, flowers and a pagoda,  It will be open from 6 p.m. until closing time.

The Hall of Heroes is a mixture of interactive science displays, with ties to such comic book superheroes as Batman, Spider-Man and Superman. It also pays tribute to real-life heroes in law enforcement, the military, firefighting along with civilian good Samaritans.

Other new attractions include the Grinding Gears nightclub, featuring a live band, aerial artists, and a DJ spinning top 40 tunes and electronic dance music to accompany dancing; and “Mid-Century Modern — Retro, Classic, Cool,” a display of the art, architecture and revolutionary products of post-World War II America.

The Flower & Garden Pavilion will depict the beauty of China through art, poetry and elaborate floral designs. The Atrium will reproduce China’s tropical rainforests with animals and plants native to the country.

Four acres devoted to growing a range of California crops have been added to The Farm at the Fairplex, which also includes the Big Red Barn, which has the state’s largest petting zoo, milking demonstrations and agricultural exhibits.

The fair’s lagoon will be home to its exotic animals, including lemurs, peacocks, monkeys, kangaroos, camels, birds and a variety of reptiles and insects. Zor the fire dancer will perform nightly at the lagoon.

Additions to the fair’s food unique offerings include a triple-decker Krispy Kreme cheeseburger, with three beef patties and three slices of cheese between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts; and the ramen burger, a ground beef chuck patty between two buns made from freshly cut ramen noodles.

There will be more than 300 food choices at the fair, including Mexican, Italian, Asian and Greek food. Some of Los Angeles’ best food trucks will also be at the fair.

The fair’s End of Summer Concert Series begins Friday with Zendaya, with special guest Trevor Jackson. Other artists scheduled to perform include Boyz II Men (Sept. 11); Heart (Sept. 26); LL Cool J (Sept. 27); and Earth, Wind & Fire (Sept. 28).

The weekend fair admission prices are $19, $15 for adults age 60 and older and $12 for children ages 6 to 12. The weekday prices are $12, $10 for adults age 60 and over and $8 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and under are free throughout the fair.

A season pass is available for $29.99.

Additional fees are required for admission to Luminasia and concerts.

Discounted tickets priced at $11 for adults and $6 for children ages 6-12 are available at participating Ralphs and Cardenas stores.

The admission price for adults age 60 and over on Wednesdays is $6, with a coupon available on the fair’s website, lacountyfair.com.

Coupons for $5 admission after 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays is also available on the fair’s website.

Admission is free from noon-3 p.m. on Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26 by donating five canned goods. Free admission is also available from noon to 3 p.m. Thursdays by donating at least five new or unwrapped school supplies.

On the opening weekend, the fair will be open from 3 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday. The hours for the rest of the fair are noon-10 p.m. Wednesdays; noon-11 p.m. Thursdays; noon-midnight Fridays; 10 a.m.-midnight Saturdays; and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays.

Following Labor Day, the fair will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday and re-open Thursday. It will then be closed Mondays and Tuesdays for the remainder of its run.

Metrolink will have new late night weekend service from the fair to Union Station to enable fairgoers to stay until closing on Saturdays and Sundays. The Saturday train will depart the Fairplex Station at 12:20 a.m. Sunday and the Sunday train will leave at 10 p.m.

All Metrolink San Bernardino Line trains will make special weekend stops at Fairplex Station, except for Trains 351, 352 and 353 on Saturdays and Train 351 on Sunday.

The Aug. 29 opening is the earliest in the fair’s history, one day earlier than last year’s Aug. 30 opening, which had been the earliest. Aug. 29 is the earliest possible date the fair can open if it continues opening on the Friday before Labor Day. It will close Sept. 28.

The fair evolved from a commercial-industrial show first held along the Southern Pacific railroad siding in downtown Pomona in 1921. It proved so successful that the businessmen who produced it held the first Los Angeles County Fair in October 1922.

The fair has been held annually at Fairplex since 1922, except from 1942-47, when the facility was being used by the U.S. Army, including as a prisoner of war camp for German and Italian soldiers and a relocation camp for Japanese Americans.

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