Sewing and the State Fair

I love going to the California State Fair, that annual celebration of the Golden State with an emphasis on its agricultural industry. I’m not sure how many people outside our state realize that warm beaches are but a fraction of what we have to offer. Agriculture is an important part of our economy. In fact, if you live in the United States, you’ve probably eaten some produce from our state.

The California State Fair and Exposition.

The California Exposition & State Fair.

I live in Sacramento County, where we’re lucky enough to have the State Fair in our backyard. I go chiefly to see the award-winning sewing projects from people of all ages, but there’s plenty of other things to do as well.

While the fair has a wide variety of attractions (concerts, carnival rides, weird stuff for sale), I prefer the old-fashioned features, such as the Counties Exhibit, which provides each county the opportunity to show its best attributes.

The agricultural abundance of the state was a theme in the county exhibits.

The agricultural abundance of the state is on view throughout the Counties Exhibits area.

Sacramento County in particularly brands itself as the Farm to Fork Capital. It's a legitimate claim. So much good food is grown in our region that frankly it's a delicious place to live.

Sacramento County in particular brands itself as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. So much good food is grown in our region that frankly it’s a delicious place to live. We have a year-round farmer’s market in my town that has wonderful produce even in winter.

The Old West (in the form of a display showcasing Bodie, a ghost town in Mono County) is on display.

Mono County chose to focus its exhibit on Bodie State Historic Park. I’ve never been to this gold-mining ghost town, but this display makes me want to visit.

On the way to the sewing exhibits, I came across some unusual characters that are another slice of life in California.

Other aspects of California culture are on display at the fair as well.

Random Chinese dragon sighting.

I'm not sure who these folks are or where they were heading, but they saw my camera and stopped to pose.

I’m not sure where these stilt walkers were heading, but they know to strike a pose when they see a camera.

The California Crafts exhibit is my main interest. It showcases the sewing goodness that I came to see:

Fantastic quilt. The red quilt stitches really enhance this beautiful quilt.

Such as this gorgeous quilt. The red quilt stitches really enhance this project. (I couldn’t get close enough to read the quilter’s name. They need to make those signs bigger! If you know it, please share so I can credit the work.)

I believe this is Grandmas' Endless Love by Gina Heon. I have always been fascinated by double wedding ring quilts. The geometry of the pieces is crazy.

The geometry of double wedding ring quilts fascinates me. I believe this is “Grandma’s Endless Love” by Gina Heon.

There weren’t nearly as many garments on display as in years past, but this one caught my eye:

These are some very long ties!

This upcycle fashion project is “Neck Ties All Around,” by Mary Boyer.

And the next generation of sewing enthusiasts was well represented:

These impressive garments are by Dustin Gerringer (10-12 age group, three-piece Western outfit) and Ashley Olson (16-18 age group, Wool Coat and Dress).

These impressive garments are by Dustin Geringer (10-12 age group, three-piece Western outfit) and Ashley Olson (16-18 age group, Wool Coat and Dress).

As part of showcasing the agriculture of California, the fair includes a three-acre farm area that this year also features drought-tolerant decorative plants and information on saving water.

A visit to the farm area is at least good for some shade.

The farm area has some nice shady spots.

There's a small farm at Cal Expo, which is where the fair is held. California has a variety of grape growing regions.

California’s grape-growing industry is represented.

Apparently, kiwis are grown here as well. I didn't know that.

Apparently, kiwifruit are grown here as well. I had no idea.

 

But the "Old West" is not extinct. There's always a blacksmith at the fair, showing off his craft. Here are sample horseshoes. This, too, is California.

There’s always a booth at the farm where a blacksmith shows off his craft. Here are sample horseshoes. The Old West is not quite extinct.

Baby animals are always a big draw at the fair. There has been controversy about having pregnant animals give birth at the fair (in the middle of a crowd is not the most comfortable place to deliver), but the fair has worked to improve conditions.

It wouldn’t be a state fair without animals. There has been controversy about having pregnant animals give birth at the fair (in the middle of a crowd is not the most comfortable place to deliver), but the fair has addresses some of the concerns and improved conditions.

And you can’t go to the fair without eating fair food. And “fair food” really means fried food. There are healthful options, but really? You can eat a salad any day, but how often can you eat funnel cake?

Fried fair food, main course. #CaliforniaStateFair

A post shared by Jeanne Marie Tokunaga (@jmsewingstudio) on

 

Fried fair food, dessert course. #CaliforniaStateFair

A post shared by Jeanne Marie Tokunaga (@jmsewingstudio) on

I have to admit that as I head toward my 50s, my fried food game is not what it once was. I couldn’t eat even half of that funnel cake.

Maybe next year.

 

California State Fair

The California State Fair showcases much more of the state than can be shown here. There’s still time to attend. The 2015 fair runs through Sunday, July 26. More information is available at www.castatefair.org.

 

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