At the California State Fair, it’s time to survive the ride, then snap a pic to prove it

Eat this, barf later?

Eat this, barf later?

The California State Fair continues through Sunday, July 29; visit for times, ticket prices and a complete list of events.

Cal Expo

1600 Exposition Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815

(877) 225-3976

I hadn’t been to the California State Fair since I was roughly 10—I blame a combination of past horrific experiences and general stubbornness.

In fact, I vividly remember the very last time I stepped foot on those fairgrounds 13 years ago. It was 1999, and I was with my grandma and a hoard of cousins, and we were all wearing matching white plastic visors adorned with a picture of a bear—my day at the fair was sure to be tops, I told myself. I was ready for the corn dog, winning the biggest stuffed animal and spending all of Grandma’s money on useless fair junk.

But what I wasn’t ready for was the rides. My adrenaline levels were obsolete, and my cousins were ruthless in their attempts to change this. Eventually, they pressured me into boarding a mini coaster that involved sitting in a chair molded to look like you were sitting on the lap of a clown.

I started crying so hard during this ordeal, that I started to gag and, after a few seconds, the ride operator had to prematurely stop the ride.

Yes, I was the moping party pooper in the group for the rest of the day, and, as the years passed, I never really had the desire to go back.

Until this year.

This year, I find myself lured back to the fair by the promise of taking photo-booth pictures with my boyfriend.

Of course, we have to prioritize our activities, and as soon as we step foot on the fairgrounds, there’s no question: We need to hit up some food first.

My boyfriend barbarically rips into a turkey leg with the biggest smile, while I indulge in a corn dog. We both regret spending $12 on a single beer.

Then, I remind him of the photo-booth promise: “Make sure we set aside $5!”

Yeah, it’s no secret: The fair is a very pricey endeavor.

But we still have other items to cross of the list. After reintroducing ourselves with fair food, exhibits and the crowd, it’s time to take on a ride. As we scope out the massive lines on the midway, I wonder if that stupid clown ride from years ago is still around. I don’t see it though, so we decide on one that looks like two hammers swinging side by side. As my boyfriend and I rough the hour-long wait, I am ready. I am pumped, and by the time we’re escorted to our seats, I tell myself: “Photo booth after this, so let’s survive this ride!”

We take the seat in front, which made it feel like we were going to be smashed directly into the ground. I laughed like a maniac the entire time, while my boyfriend kept his eyes shut and kept repeating, “I’m gonna barf, I’m gonna barf.”

Overall, I find my fair palate rejuvenated with sweeter memories replacing those from childhood: my boyfriend threatening to barf on me; facing my fear of rides; indulging in beer and corn dogs; and, finally, the coveted photo-booth strip that brings a smile to my face each time I see it affixed to the refrigerator door.