Opening: The California State Fair

The cotton-candy-iest time of the year arrives in Sacramento.


TO FLIT ABOUT... from county fair to county fair would be a nearly full-time pursuit for the Golden Stater. For our counties are numerous, and each fair has its own vibe, and the whole carnival-fun calendar starts early in the year, in February, in Riverside County. In short? You'd need to clear your schedule to truly get a feel for them all, or, if not clear your schedule, plan several road trips to know what a county has to offer via its yearly party. Then, of course, you have the state fair, a tradition that stretches back to nearly the founding year of California itself (okay, just a couple of years after, in 1852). If you're planning on doing your county's fair, or you've already enjoyed it in 2016, and you want to take in the state spectacular, too, best get your pony out and trot for Sacramento, as the midway-merry proceedings open on...

FRIDAY, JULY 8: You'll make for the Cal Expo (of course, as it is the iconic home to our state fair), and you'll jump into a colorful caboodle of to-dos, from the $2 Taste of the Fair to the Cornhole Championship to a Dwight Yoakum show to Chaka Khan in concert to the pie-eating contest to the beer and wine competitions, too. It will hardly leave you any time to get your hands all cotton-candy-y (almost mandatory at any fair) or ride the Dizzy Dragon or Gravitron. Is this the year you finally visit the state fair, in addition to all of those county parties you regularly call upon? It's as timeless as Golden State celebrations come, and as flavorful, and as musical, and as piglet-ical, and as corn dog-ical, and as Ferris wheel-ical...

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