It was a huge disappointment to get news that, due to the pandemic, the Ventura County Fair was canceled for the second consecutive year. The good news is that absent the fair, such a big event for local families; we have Summerfest. Earlier this year, we learned that officials would be leasing the fairgrounds in Ventura to Kasti Amusements from August 4th – 15th. Though not meant to be a duplication of the County Fair, it can be just what the psychologist ordered as a “poor man’s” alternative. Technically this is a carnival, and as Kay Kastl, co-owner of the California amusement company, says,
“Obviously, with COVID times, everything will be a little smaller. There will not be exhibits, concerts or livestock. Everyone is evolving and trying to figure out what is doable in 2021.”
She also noted that fair officials would not run the event but only act as property managers.
What is there are rides for adults and kids? We haven’t been there yet ourselves, so we don’t know precisely how many rides, but the original estimate was 16 – 25. Rebecca and I will be there sometime over the weekend, and though we won’t miss the livestock, we will miss the live music. We are not that big on the rides either, but we do like to at least “try” one or two while we’re there. We are also pretty picky about what we eat, but it will be good to see the food booths, the corn dogs, and the sweet treats that are all part of the experience.
We’ve often been asked, “If you don’t like the animals or most of the food and rides, why do you go?” The answer is, we like the atmosphere and the nostalgia. For Rebecca, it’s her early days in rural Nebraska when the family farm made the County Fairs even more significant. It takes me back to the carnival atmosphere of my Octoberfest days in La Crosse, Wisconsin. (Of course, for many, the Beer Gardens were the Octoberfest, providing an opportunity to wander the roped-off sections of town in a drunken stupor without much fear of being arrested.)
So anyway, we plan to go and have the experience. Like many, we’re starved for those annual events that have been absent due to the pandemic. We look forward to going, and maybe we’ll see you there.