Happy 100th, LA County Fair

"Back to Our Roots" is the theme as "one of the largest county fairs in the country" celebrates its first May run.

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You won't suddenly drop your fried candy bar or turkey leg in utter surprise when you read the following statement we're about to make: Things do change at county fairs.

True, the treat-filled, midway-cool, animal-adorable extravaganzas are very much about memories, memory-making, and the realm of nostalgia, meaning those particular sweetnesses we may have enjoyed when we were kids are always at the center of a county fair's happy heart.

But fair foods do grow more fanciful, new piglets are born, zazzier rides debut, and fairs move forward to the future, or at least something a bit different.

The LA County Fair still brims with the nostalgic pleasures we do love, but a major difference as "the largest county fair in the country" opens for its merry, multi-week run on Thursday, May 5?

Well, the clue was in that sentence, and we're hoping that you "May" find it quickly.

The everything-and-a-little-bit-more spectacular has long been a staple of the later part of summer, springing up at the end of August and saying good-baaa, er, goodbye just around the time fall officially arrives.

But with the closures and pandemic-related cancellations of 2020 and 2021, things changed up for the outsized Pomona party, prompting a move to May.

This is new, yes, but the 2022 theme reveals that the fair intends to head "Back to Our Roots." That means all or at least many of the things you've savored, marveled over, devoured, cheered, waved at, petted, and gently fed handfuls of corn to will be back, through May 30.

The theme is also related to this splashy fact: LA County Fair is celebrating its centennial year, which means you'll see plenty of sights spotlighting the long-running lark's history.

"We are excited to welcome back our guests and vendors to what is certainly going to be a sentimental return to the LA County Fair," said Walter Marquez, President and CEO of Fairplex.

"We've heard from guests how much they've missed the Fair. When the gates open in May, we will be back in the business of making memories."

The fair, as always, will have so much "so much," and wading into that wonderful stew of so-much-iness of the event can be done without memorizing what's on the day's schedule.

Or, yes: You can do some delightful digging ahead of time and be fully in the know before you go.

The concert line-up will include The Spinners, The Beach Boys, and other famous favorites, the buzziest bite is the Cherry Kool-Aid Chicken Sandwich at Chicken Charlie's, NextFest will give indie music-makers the stage, the famous Flower and Garden Pavilion will say "Cheers to 100 Years" through its leafy displays, animals will baa/bleat/charm, pigs will run, quirky competitions will charm, and knowing where to go/look next, as you decide what to eat/ride next, is all part of the experience.

Important to know?

Parking and admission are both cashless in 2022, and reading up on what you need to know before pulling into the Pomona parking lot is as important as finding, buying, and photographing that first 'gram-worthy goodie.

In summary and in celebration: Happy 100th, LA County Fair!

The nostalgia is high, very, as you return to your roots, and summon all of the pursuits people have long adored. And the element of change is real, as you land in springtime, rather than late summer.

May May bring all of the spring-style sights, tastes, and pleasures to everyone who has missed one of Southern California's most classic, cuisine-tastic, and critter-cute traditions.

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