June 2012 home page

Rich Simons | 11th Street

Every month, Rich Simons answers readers’ most perplexing questions.


Q: Do you give up travelling north during the fair? – v.w.
If relocating to Oklahoma on opening day counts, YES!

Q: Any ideas for revitalizing the fair? – q.f.
I think a bullet rain from Orange County ought to do the trick. Maybe another one from Poway or Rancho Bernardo.

Q: How do you deal with the noise from loud music events at the fair? – a.n.
The same way we deal with obnoxious noises in our car – we crank the radio volume up louder, as needed.

Q: What are your best memories of the fair? - t.s.
Probably the annual quest for the “best spot” from which to view the fireworks on the final day (traditionally the 4th of July). When we first arrived in the early seventies we were young and naïve (our kids hadn’t learned yet how to sneak in to drink illicit beer and listen to bad music), so we would actually pay for the whole family to go in so we could lie on the infield grass and watch the fire in the sky, embers falling into our eyes. Probably can’t do that now. It was a kinder, gentler world then . . . if you could forget that there was a war on.

That era ended with the unfortunate incident in which I stuffed myself with deep fat fried chocolate pickles, then hopped into a ride called “The Hammer,” and went spinning away in the air far above the madding crowd screaming that I was the Hurling Champion of the World! Sophisticates will recognize that hurling is a popular sport in Ireland, but we’re talking Southern California here so I was greeted OFF the property by Don Diego himself. Boy swung a mean lariat.

After that we discovered that on the 4th the beach from 17th to the lagoon mouth was strewn with fire rings every few yards, tended by very generous people so it was possible to barhop all the way down to the lagoon entrance and then back again. But over the years the fires seemed to disappear. Maybe someone passed an ordinance.

We then found our way to the “snake wall” at the far north of town, at the end of Serpentine. There we found comfortable seats on the wall from which we could look down on the excitement. But in time the whole combined populations of Poway and Rancho Bernardo found out and we had to arrive at noon to get a seat and then the City blocked off the whole north end of town for the event so you had to hike in from 15th and finally it didn’t matter because some idiot watered the Torrey Pines down slope from the wall and now you can’t detect the fairgrounds without radar.

So, through the years the fireworks have become more and more distant, as if they were being launched, for safety reasons, from a raft in the middle of Lake Hodges. Be that as it may, just last year we discovered a new “best spot.” And this coming 4th, when I reveal it to you, I hope you will understand that in Tijuana the snow is two feet deep.


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