2016 LA County Fair Daring Facts & Trivia
Top 10 Things You Probably Never Knew About the LA County Fair
1. The LACF is one of the largest and most diverse county fairs in the world. In fact, at
487 acres, the LACF has a larger footprint than both the Iowa State Fair (435 acres) and Texas State Fair (445 acres).
2. The LACF is home to one of the largest urban farms in America. The onsite, year-round working Farm at Fairplex boasts more than 150 California specialty crops, allowing for the ultimate farm-to-Fair foodie experience. Dedicated to its community, The Farm also serves as an educational resource, offering lessons in sustainability, healthy eating and crop growing.
3. The LACF is a popular Hollywood filming location. Some of the concert scenes from
Tom Hanks' popular "That Thing You Do," were shot at Fairplex. Other movies filmed at
least partially at LACF/Fairplex include "Seabiscuit,” “Me, Myself and Irene,” "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," "The Grifters,” "Elizabethtown" and the 2009 remake of Disney’s “Race to Witch Mountain.”
4. The first edition of the LACF was 1922. A toothpaste-making demo was a top
attraction, and female visitors sported dresses with stockings or the traditional flapper
look while guys sported knickers and “newsboy” caps. Admission was 50 cents.
5. The LACF crowned its first queen, Edna Mae Paige, in 1929. The annual custom of
crowing a LACF Queen continued through the mid-1960s.
6. The LACF has operated every year since 1922 except 1942-47 when Fairplex was used by the U.S. Army during World War II.
7. Attendance at the LACF topped the one million mark for the first time in 1948, with
1,254,503 visitors, during its first year after World War II. Since then, the Fair has topped the one million mark in all but one year.
8. The LACF is an entirely self-supporting not-for-profit organization (501[c]3) that does
not receive support from The County of Los Angeles.
9. The LACF’s official mascot, Thummer the Pig, was introduced in 1948. Originally
named “Porky,” the character had to be renamed when, in 1950, the local studio behind
a cartoon character of the same name claimed the rights. A contest was held to name
the pig, and “Thummer” was born. The name was selected because, with one
outstretched hoof, he appeared to be hitchhiking his way to Pomona.
10. One of the world’s largest classrooms, the LACF opens three hours early every day of its annual September run to host school kids. For the past 15 years, long before visitors arrive, LACF has allowed students to participate in educational activities related to agriculture, art, science, literature, California heritage, and life on a real farm. In all, the Learning Center’s Fairtime Education Program has given more than 1 million students and teachers exclusive, backstage access to the LACF’s world of learning and discovery.
LACF by the Numbers
40 Number in tons of hot dogs consumed in 1972.
50 Price in cents of LACF admission in the inaugural year of 1922.
487 Acres of LA County Fair rides, shows, attractions, food and games
at Fairplex in Pomona – among the largest county fair in the
world. That makes LA County Fair larger in acreage than the
famous Iowa State Fair (435 acres) and Texas State Fair (445
30,000 Vehicles that can be parked in the LA County Fair parking lots.
250,000 Dollars donated to the Red Cross Disaster Fund by Fairguests in
2001 in support of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
325,000 Square feet of meeting and convention space at Fairplex,
including the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel.
82,648,657 Total visitors since the first LA County Fair in 1922.
Midway of Fame
As Hollywood’s local fair, the LACF has seen countless celebrities over the years. Just some of the famous faces to visit Fairplex include Shirley Temple (1938), The Three Stooges (1964), Bob Hope (1966) and Alec Baldwin with his child, Ireland (2003).
Cowboy actor Monty Montana wed Louise Archer with famous cowboy actor Buck Jones by their side as the best man. The couple rode their horses, Pinto and Lady Spot, and recited their vows in front of the racetrack grandstand.
LACF stages have featured a “Who’s Who” of musical performers – from Ray Charles, Dottie West and Rick Nelson in 1974 to the Beach Boys in 1983, Jessica Simpson in 2008, Blake Shelton in 2009 and 2015’s Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Kool & The Gang and The Beach Boys.
In 2001, country music superstar Toby Keith became the first artist to sell-out the grandstand during the LACF Summer Concert Series.
Married just four months, Lisa Marie Presley and Nicholas Cage visited in 2002, and
participated in an impromptu dance performance with Presley’s daughter on the Fairplex 4 Community Stage.
In 2013, Fairplex was the site of Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare in October, along with the third year of Oktoberfest.
Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush visited the LACF before they assumed the Oval Office. In fact, Bush cut the 2000 LACF Opening Day ribbon as part of a campaign stop.
Celebrity chefs Sandra Lee and George Geary gave Fairguests a chance to witness “Cooking the Short-Cut Way” during their live cooking demonstrations in 2012.
Only in L.A.
A two-tailed sheep was a highlight of the 1941 Fair.
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) held its first sanctioned event in 1953 at the Fairplex grounds, featuring more than 375 cars.
The Frisbee made its debut at the 1957 LA County Fair. It was originally known as the Pluto Platter before being renamed several years later.
The LACF was the first fair in the country to feature a performance by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
The World’s Largest Man-Made Ski Jump was featured at the LACF in 1951. Built entirely out of artificial snow, the take-off area rose 225 feet high and sloped downward for 500 feet.
Dubbed as the ‘largest exhibit building in the world’ the LACF’s 1930 “Palace of Agriculture” measured 800’ x 135’ and sat more than 16,000 people.
The LACF has one of the largest and most prestigious wine, olive oil and spirits competitions in the country with more than 100 international judges sipping their way through nearly 3,500 entries. As reflection of its rising prominence, the LACF’s Wines of the World event was changed to the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition in 2007 and expanded to include tequila.
A replica honoring President Herbert Hoover was created entirely out of citrus fruit in 1930. Each fruit was individually wrapped in tissue paper to obtain the different color shades and hues.
Following the legalization of wagering on horse racing in 1933, the LACF became the first Southern California venue to allow fans to bet on horse racing.
The famous Budweiser Clydesdales have been a LACF highlight since 1981.
In 2006, a first-ever “Winter Wonderland” in Fairplex 8 gave visitors the chance to ice skate, toboggan and experience falling snow. In 2016, The IGLOO will offer many of the same experiences..
Habitat for Humanity built two homes during the 2007 LACF before relocating them to Pomona for two lucky families.
In 2014, the LACF debuted Luminasia, easily one of its most popular nighttime exhibits ever. The intricate hand-crafted Chinese Lantern exhibition was so popular, it was expanded for an encore return in 2015.
Fair-tastic Fairdevil Factoids
The Fairdevil is responsible for making sure that everything at the Fair is up to snuff: from ensuring the BBQ sauce on the Giant Turkey Legs has a sufficient amount of Scoville heat-scale spiciness, to inspecting the track for the Pig Races, to timing the speed of the Gravitron, the Fair’s fastest ride.
The Fairdevil’s given name is Darnel Pinson.
His granddaddy was inspired to create the Fair while chasing down a runaway potbelly pig after it had eaten one of his funnel cake creations.
He has mastered the Fair Midway games to be able to knock over three metal milk bottles with a softball at 50 paces, blindfolded.
He has received offer letters from Cirque Du Soleil and a lifetime achievement award from the American Bacon Board.
Rumor has it that Elon Musk has the Fairdevil on speed dial, and President Barack Obama copies him on all his emails – just in case.
During the offseason, he travels the world meeting with physicists, inventor, chefs, and
farmers to keep the LA County Fair amazing.