Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fresno's 130th Fair

             Our WI-FI connection here where we are now parked is quite weak, so I will not use pictures in this posting.  Despite Yosemite being closed, we still had a good stay in Chowchilla.  Saturday we drove north to the Sierra National Forest, to an area of the forest called Nelder Grove.  It is on private land so it has not closed.  The grove consists of about 1,540 acres.  Currently there are about 100 mature sequoias mixed in a forest of pine, cedar and fir.  From 1888 to the 1920 two hundred and seventy seven mature giant sequoias were harvested.  John and I hiked on trails which led us to the Bull Buck Tree, and Big Ed.  During the logging in the 1800s the felling foreman or wood boss told his crew to preserve the former tree for prosperity.  Because of its size the Bull Buck Tree was made the boss of the woods.  It is about 2,700 years old, 250 feet tall and 100 feet around the base.  It, as well as Mr. Ed, is a very beautiful, healthy sequoia. 

           Sunday we attended a Lutheran church in Chowchilla, and were invited to a dinner which they had after the service.  I am glad we took them up on their invitation because while mingling with the members before the meal we met an almond grower, as well as a young lady who is in marketing for a dried fruit company.  We learned more about almond growing, as well as pistachio and raisin harvesting.  One man, who works for a company which makes pallets, said that his company makes a large number of wooden boxes for bee hives.  Bees are needed in this area for the pollination of the almond trees. 

         At the Fresno Fair we saw the fruits, nuts, and vegetables produced by the San Joquin Valley.  We had never before seen such a large display grapes and raisins!  No wonder, there are 100 different varieties of grapes grown in Fresno County.  Sun Maid had a display, it has 750 grower farms.   Other produce of the area was also on display- besides almonds and pistachios, there were peanuts, cotton, prickly pear and garlic.  Peaches are now out of season, but some were on display- as well as pears, plums and apples and a wide variety of citrus fruit.  There are 250 different crops grown in the valley area.  We visited other exhibit halls, my favorites were the fine arts and home arts.   In the latter we saw products made from wood, also quilts, and decorated Christmas trees, as well as unique table settings.  In the Green Hall, we saw a wide variety of African violets, bonsai, orchids and roses as well as other plants and flowers.  Also on display were charming garden settings.

         We also saw several shows at the fair.   A first for us was “Mutton Bustin”.   In this show children age 4years to 7 ride sheep- at the end of the fair a final competition is held to determine who gets the grand prize of $5,000 dollars.  It takes a pretty gutsy young child to enter this contest- it seemed to be a difficult feat for them to hold onto the wool of a racing sheep!   Each rider does wear a helmet, and many people are standing nearby to grab them if they get into an unsafe situation.  I felt that we had experienced so many new things at the Fresno Fair- maybe my supper should also be a first time event.  I ordered a lobster corn dog with lemon aioli sauce.  Delicious, just about like eating fish with hush puppies! 

          After supper we attended a Neil Sedaka concert in the large outdoor arena on the fairgrounds.  He sang many of his older songs from the 1960s, as well as some of his newer ones.  Over his fifty some years of singing Neil Sedaka claimed that he has written 800 songs.   It was a great concert, also enhanced by a female vocalist, sax and piano players.  All right, I have to admit it was not for the younger crowd!  In summary I only have to say that if you ever have an opportunity to attend the Fresno Fair, don’t miss it!

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