When we arrived at the fair, we went straight to the farm exhibits (somewhat weirdly sponsored by McDonald's) and almost immediately encountered some chickens. They had several open pens with a variety of chicken breeds on display. Pictured below is a nice-sized enclosure of young chickens, including some Barred Rocks resting on a log. I love those stripes. I definitely plan to get a Barred Rock when it's time for new chicks. They were in with a few fluffy silkies and some fancy Polish.
In the barn across the way, I noticed this handsome hen peeking through the bars. I really like the mottled black and gold of her feathers. Silkies sure are cute. I hear they're not the greatest layers, though, and tend to go broody. So I don't think I want one for my small flock.
Near the silkie were these big girls. Does anyone know what breed they might be? The chicken breeds weren't posted on their pens, unfortunately. My guess is Buff Orphington. I don't think I've ever seen an Orphington in real life, and I had no idea they were such big girls. They're definitely on the list of breeds I'd like to own, but I feel like we might have to make the coop door bigger if we ever got one.
Despite the somewhat disappointing lack of breed signage, there were some informative plaques about chickens scattered around. This one was very pro-backyard chicken, which I appreciated.
After all the chicken admiring was complete, we turned our attention to the wide variety of goats and sheep at the fair. This caused Dakota and I to briefly indulge our goat-ownership fantasy. How cool would it be to drink milk fresh from our own backyard? (Answer: very cool.) But, even excluding the legal and neighbor obstacles, I don't think we can squeeze a goat on our property. I doubt we have enough space for the goat, much less a nice-sized enclosure and room for all its feed. That said... Look at the cute angora goats! They're so fluffy, and I could knit with their wool.
And while I'm going on about the cuteness of barnyard animals, check out this little pig. I could not get enough of him as he marched around his pen and indulged in several vigorous scratching sessions. I have a friend at work who owned a pig, and I think he found it to be a wonderful pet. Hmmm...
Another great thing about pigs: they race! Our group was very excited about the pig races, and after rushing across the fairgrounds for the 1:30 show, we got our chance to see some. There's kind of a cuteness theme happening in this post, and I apologize for going on, but, seriously, pig races are so cute. If you go to the fair, definitely check them out. I had no idea pigs could run so fast. I think the milk and cookies they got at the finish line were highly motivating.
Just so you don't think we spent all our time in the farm animal section of the fair (although I certainly could have), we did roam the grounds and take in the sites. Predictably, there are lots of carnival rides, silly photo booths and places to buy knick-knacks. Some of the better attractions included a sky ride over the fair, several giant, inflatable slides and an event called "Splash Dogs," where you could watch extremely excited dogs try to jump as far as they could into an above-ground swimming pool. Highly recommend for any dog lovers.
And, of course, there was weird fair food. This years hot item appears to be chocolate-covered bacon. I was more intrigued by the sign below. What, exactly, is "Meat Lover's Ice Cream"? There was no additional information posted, and no one was willing to order some.
Towards the end of our visit, we made it over to the Going Green exhibition--basically a mini-trade show of green vendors. We said hello to the Solatube guy, who informed us that we could write off a percentage of the cost of a Solatube on our taxes. We're considering getting the kind with a light and a fan for our bathroom. There was also a display for a portable graywater system called Enviro Water Boy, which seems like a convenient way to reuse your bath water to water your plants. It would definitely be faster than scooping it up with an empty milk jug, which is what my mom does.
Below is a picture of another Going Green display, which I am calling The Fanciest Rainwater Collection System Ever. I didn't catch the name of this particular product, but essentially it collects rainwater, filters it, stores it in an underground cistern and then pumps it into a very attractive waterfall. There's also a little spigot so you can use the collected rainwater to water your plants. I didn't get a brochure for this since it's obviously hugely out of our price range. But, it looked really cool.
One company at the Going Green exhibition did catch my eye: an organic fruit and vegetable delivery service called Farm Fresh to You. They had a promotion for $10 off a sample box, so Dakota and I are going to try it. I'll post more about the produce and the company once we have a chance to eat the fruit and do a bit of research.
All-in-all, I had a fun day at the Los Angeles County Fair. There was a good balance of animal and plant exhibits alongside bizarro fair culture. The fair runs though next weekend if you want to check it out.