FAIR TIME: It's true that, in most places, a classic carnival-type fair would be an early harbinger of summer. But Southern California isn't most places; after all, one of our major county fairs happens in the wintertime, which is an anomaly as far as county fairs go. So the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo, which is on for five days at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, isn't a true predictor of warmer days; it does, however, foretell of carousels and midways and cotton candy and vintage-style sweetness.
APRIL 27-MAY 1: While many people will make plans to visit the fair over the weekend, fans of "The Wizard of Oz" should note that there's a costume contest happening on Wednesday, April 27. No real Totos will be permitted, but the fair organizers are asking potential Dorothys and Cowardly Lions to go all out. Several areas of the fair have Baum-y handles, too, like the Flying Monkey Stage. Even if you don't make opening day, bet you'll see animals aplenty (if not actual flying monkeys); like all classic fairs, SBFE has its share of bleats and clucks. An online adult ticket is $5.