See a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower.
William Blake, 1863
See a world in the fair at hand
And eleven for its wild power
Steven Beazley, 2011
The 2011 Orange County Fair was more than an annual event adding another rung to its 120-year ladder to the stars. It was more thrilling than a roller coaster, sweeter than a funnel cake, and cooler than the ice sculptures. It was, in a word, a world.
The 2011 Fair displayed the power of life: baby pigs were born, a fair employee was asked to enter into holy matrimony, and first love bloomed on first dates. A governor parted the clouds as pink slips turned to wine sips, 220,000 more people made the pilgrimage to the fairgrounds, as the masses raised and shone at the dawn of each Sunday (and Saturday). Friends reunited for the first time all year, as nature's air-conditioner was on high. Readers used their voice and cast their choice. Four teenage boys set a Big Time record for a musical gathering, the boy king Bieber appeared out of nowhere, and three wise men, Dylan, Cosby and King, delivered gifts of artistic magic. On the 24th day, the fair rested.