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After 30 years of living in Los Angeles, I finally went to the Los Angeles County Fair this past weekend. We went on Saturday, and early enough to get a great parking spot. We slathered on the sunscreen, adjusted our sunglasses and baseball caps and walked toward the entrance.

After waiting in a small line, we walked through an underpass, and voila! – we were in.  The first thing we saw was a plethora of carnival-like food stands. Chinese, Greek, Italian, Tri-Tip, Hot Dog on a Stick, deep fried Oreos, you name it.

We walked a little further in, and to our surprise, we came up to a Pink’s Hot Dogs! And, there was no line! I guess you need to drive as far out as Pomona to avoid those hours-long waits for a hot dog.

We ordered our dogs, as well as their yummy chili cheese fries (fries were a bad idea, as I found out later when I went rushing toward the Ladies’ Room).  It was getting a little toasty outside, but the LA County Fair thinks of everything.  They installed mist machines everywhere, which kept us cool.

After chowing down at Pink’s, we meandered down the main drag, checking the place out. We passed the farm animals, more fried food, carnival rides and an animal display, including zebras, camels, snakes, alligators and reptiles.

We then ducked into one of the display buildings. For me, this is where the fun started. Of all the articles I’ve read about the fair, the Table Scaping Competition was something I had never read about. I went in to get a better look. There were about 20 tables, with a variety of themes and props to go along with the table settings.

The themes ran the gamut; Western, Mexican, Wedding, Candy, Egyptian, Tropical, you name it. The judges took their task very seriously.  Points were taken off for wrinkled tablecloths, silverware in the wrong order and/or not perfectly straight, missing silverware, lack of originality, settings not accurately depicting the true theme. The big question for me is why would someone enter a contest like this and not have a nicely pressed tablecloth and the silverware in the right order? Duh.

But then again, I’m lucky that I can find a clean plate, a fork and napkins when I sit down for my 10-minute meal before going back to work. But, when I entertain, it’s a different story. I love my table settings. They are like decorating a room. They need to have a central theme, be balanced and include a statement piece. My tablecloths are starched, and I know where the silverware should go. I looked to see if anybody from the Westside entered the contest.

Not one contestant was from the Westside. Things are about to change. I am going to enter the 2019 Table Scaping Competition. And, I will win first place. I don’t think I get anything for winning, just a ribbon. But I can help start a Westside Table Setting Competition legacy. It’s about time.

If any of you Westsiders go to the fair, check out the crafts room. You’ll find pie-baking, cookie-baking, jam-making and other competitions, in addition to the Table Setting Competition.

And you know, not one entry in the whole craft room was from the Westside. Just sayin…

The L.A. County Fair runs now until Septtember 23 in Pomona.

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