Corn Dog Alert: California State Fair on Approach

Fried foods, midway rides, and cuddly creatures reign, at Cal Expo.

CAN YOU HEAR THE CALLIOPE? One of the most charming trends in publishing over the last decade has involved those wisecracking adventurers who take on a mega and oh-so-quirky project over a single year. Try every kind of candy, visit every state, that sort of dealie. But who here has gone to every county fair in California over a single calendar year? While making every county fair in the nation might be a task too grand for any one mere mortal, taking on each midway-bedecked party in the Golden State could happen, starting south, in the winter, with Riverside County and working your way north. Of course, you could begin the book you're writing with the biggie, the bruin-est, the captain of this sweet-and-treat-laden ship: The California State Fair.

A PRESENCE IN THREE CENTURIES: It has been around since the 1800s, but not just the tail end: The Sacramento animals + fruits + quilts + attractions megamondohappening revved up just a few years after the Gold Rush, meaning its very early pleasures may have well been paid for in some of the initial revenue from the first gold-seekers. It has grown -- its big home, Cal Expo, is a testament to its titan-like status in a state brimming with big fairs -- and it has more delights beyond the traditional. The 17-day fair covers the quintessential staples of a summer fest, it is true, but also offers things like a Whiskey Festival, a Best of California Brewfest, olive oil and cheese showdowns, sports, shows, and all sorts of pettable, lookable, sippable wonders.

2015 DATES: Opening date is Friday, July 10 and Sunday, July 26 is the final adieu. There's a pre-sale for tickets going on, as of this typing, if pre-sale-ing is your thing, or you could just make for Sactown on a whim with the goal of seeing the best examples of canned apple sauce, the cutest of goats, the light-bulb-blinkiest of midway games. So who's up for visiting every California county fair, with a start in Sacramento? There're a lot of Cal-charming old-timey fairs to jump into, for sure.

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