Mesa Musings: Was it really worth avoiding the fair?

August 15, 2011|By Jim Carnett

Looks like I ended up cutting off my nose to spite my face, as my sainted Kansas grandmother used to say.

What does that corn-fed expression mean? Out of pique, we can end up damaging ourselves more than the object of our scorn.

Case in point: I've made it no secret that I'm not exactly enamored with the Orange County Fair. I've lived two blocks from the fair for 36 years, and within a mile of the fairgrounds since 1952. Proximity has not made the heart grow fonder.


Perhaps the fault lies with me. There's a chance that I've become a crotchety old dude, but I see the fair as a noisy, pollution-spewing, smelly nuisance that annually disrupts my quiet neighborhood.

And, every year, the auto traffic is a pain in the derrière.

On my block, one can't ignore this intrusive neighbor. It lurks daily on our public streets, in our backyards and, on warm summer evenings, it penetrates our dining rooms, family rooms and bedrooms.

We used to put up with it for one week each summer. Tolerable. Now, it lasts an interminable four-plus weeks!

I've probably attended the fair 50 times in my lifetime, but not once in the past decade. I'll likely not return.

I'm over it.

Yeah, I know, Fair & Event Center Chief Executive and President Steven Beazley boasts that the fair has never been more popular. It attracted record numbers this year. Well, la-de-DEEP-FRIED-dah! I am not moved.

I concede that I may be the only guy in the Western Hemisphere who feels as I do, but I can live with being Costa Mesa's solitary summertime Grinch.

This year I decided to do something tangible in regards to my personal O.C. Fair kerfuffle.

Six months ago I deliberately scheduled my summer vacation to coincide with the run of the fair. Rather than allow myself to grow increasingly agitated as the fair's opening day approached, I was able to don a smug smile.

"When the fair is ON, I'll be GONE!" was my mantra.

So, where'd we end up spending four weeks? Alaska? Prince Edward Island? Lake Tahoe? Nah.

We were smarter than that! We went to the East Coast.

So much for my nose remaining attached to my face.

Did I mention that the East Coast experienced perhaps its hottest summer ever this year?

Everywhere we went — Raleigh, N.C., Washington, D.C., Philadelphia — we endured sauna-like conditions.

We melted.

I attended a theater production in North Carolina, and when the curtain went up at 7:30 p.m. it was 105 sopping degrees!

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