Come One, Come All!
County fairs can be either a lot of fun, educational and exciting or a mob scene in terrible heat and one huckster after another. As a sociological study the later can be interesting. For having a great time, the former is our choice.
Luckily the Bay Area has several enjoyable fairs and a favorite is always the Marin County Fair (74th year!) running through Sunday, July 5 in San Rafael. For one low price entrants get to enjoy almost every attraction— exhibits, shows, film festival, concerts, nightly fireworks and carnival rides at no additional charge.
In Marin they take it seriously to combine the traditions expected at a fair with alternative programming and healthy food options. All food stands are required to include healthy selections so you can have a choice. The “healthy” offerings also taste really good. In the food area the concessions are operated by local non-profits. The Fair is celebrated as “The Greenest County Fair on Earth.”
Food is everywhere. In the country fair tradition there are many competitions you can see in exhibit halls. Amateur cooks, young and old, show off their baked goods, confections, decorated food, home brew, canned and preserved foods , wines, honey and much more—plus many non food categories you didn’t know existed.
The California Ice Cream Brownie Sundae Contest on Friday and Finger Lickin’ Chicken on Sunday should be something to see, smell and hopefully taste. The new Baby Stroller Decorating and Selfies competitions might be interesting too. There are 800 categories.
The Cover Stornetta Family Farm is a wonderful place to meet livestock being responsibly raised by young people in 4-H and other youth organizations. You will find a variety from exotic poultry to Nigerian Dwarf Goats.
The Short Film and Video Festival has become a favorite way to get off your feet and out of the sun for 90 minutes. An international selection of animation, narrative and documentaries will move you to laughter and tears.
It wouldn’t be right if LucasFilm wasn’t there as it has been for years — you can expect to run into Star Wars characters and have your photo taken with them.
And then there are the free concerts ranging from Oakland’s La Misa Negra to the Marshall Tucker Band, Queen Nation, Pablo Cruise, Judy Collins and Aaron Neville.
The Chinese Circus of Beijing, Something Ridiculous juggling and acrobatic troupe, LegoJeep, and STEAM Carnival plus photography, fine arts, crafts, flowers, and art chairs are just the tip of the possibilities.
Being on the Ferris wheel for the fireworks is a memorable experience to end your day.
For one low-priced ticket, you get all of the exciting exhibits, farm displays, headline concerts, amazing fireworks and 28 carnival rides free with admission. Save money buying in advance online here.
Oakland’s Pizzaiolo presents their summer movies every Wednesday in the patio. The movie is free. They will not be offering table service, but there will be pizza, meatballs, sub sandwiches, homemade oreos and special cocktails to be ordered at the concession stand starting at 5:30pm. Seating will be limited, so please arrive early and you are welcome to bring your own seats.
The July series is called “Mistaken Identities.” Wednesday, July 8 features The Life of Brian with the Monty Python Gang featuring the iconic anthem, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Also coming in July are Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, The Big Lebowski and El Mariachi.
Oakland’s Fruitvale district has become a happy destination for a variety of good eats. Long host to a plethora of excellent and reasonably prices Mexican restaurants and taco trucks (Tacos Sinaloa with several trucks is one of our favorites—lengua, al pastor, pescado and ceviche are great- truck #4 is by BART) .
And save room for some of the best ice cream around, made with fresh fruit at Nieves Cinco de Mayo.
Across from the BART station is a village with some great choices and one, The Half Orange, has been discovered for its sausages made from Niman Ranch pork and grass feed beef burgers, brunch and special brews.
This weekend features some special brews from Aqua Mala Beer.
Owner Jay Porter wrote:
If you’re staying in town this weekend — or leaving town if that brings you to the Bay Area — we’d love to have you come visit us at The Half Orange! All weekend long we’re featuring a (mini) “tap takeover” of Agua Mala beers, including their WBC award winning IPA, their chile wit beer, their Pilsner (it’s the best Mexican pilsner I know of), and their hoppy amber (if you’ve been missing the old Hop Head Red, you’ll want to check this beer out).
Agua Mala is a small craft brewery located steps from the Pacific Ocean in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. I think the beer tastes particularly good because it is brewed with just about the best possible view a brewery could have. It’s rare to find their beer in the US and I think at this point we’re the only place you can taste it north of Los Angeles. So we hope you get a chance to check these out.
Cheers to a great holiday. We love you, have a great day!
Check out his blog, especially the tempting dispatch about his recent visit to Mexican wine country.