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Comments & Curiosities: Ow, my arteries!

July 17, 2010|By Peter Buffa

Remember 1890? Me neither. But that's how long the Orange County Fair has been around: 120 years.

On Friday morning, the gates at the fairgrounds were thrown open once again and the first of a bazillion visitors rushed inside — not knowing where to turn, what to do or what to eat first — just wanting to have fun. They needn't worry. It's all there — exhibits with every type of thing in the universe, animal, vegetable and mineral, and a few things that don't fit any of those.

There are big-name performers, like ZZ Top and Faith Hill, and free performances by people you've never heard, playing instruments you've never seen before. I used to try to run down the entire fair schedule for you, but it's impossible, especially with the fair now running four weeks instead of three.

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But if you remember nothing else, remember this. The only valid reason to have an Orange County Fair in my opinion — the All Alaskan Racing Pigs — are back, pinker and porkier than ever. Is there anything more fulfilling than watching six little pigs in their own little numbered vests run like the wind, sort of, with a frenzied crowd cheering them on? If there is, I am not aware of it.

By the way, the little porkers really do make their home in Sarah-land, at the Alaska State Fairgrounds outside Anchorage. It's a long, long way from Alaska to Orange County, but a pig's gotta do what a pig's gotta do.

Who's hungry? If your primary care physician has warned you that your health has been a little too stable lately, a few hours at the Fair can fix that. There are literally hundreds of choices, including every BBQ and Mexican item you've ever heard of, not to mention the bacon-wrapped hot dog, the 1/3-pound cheeseburger and the 1/2-pound "Monster Hot Dog," none of which are big with vegans. Shall we do the math on a 1/2-pound hot dog? Why not.

The standard package of eight hot dogs you're used to seeing weighs 1 pound, which means a 1/2-pound hot dog is the equivalent of four of the hot dogs in that package nestled in a bun that is roughly the size of your pillow. For sides, you could go with the Australian battered potatoes, jumbo fries, chili fries, chili cheese fries and just plain cheese fries if you're watching your diet.

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