Press "Enter" to skip to content

Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Just the one Public Service Announcement this week. The Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show is here!

I’m sure I don’t have to remind anyone around these parts of that but for my readers in the Rest of the World and the AV Chamber of Commerce, this coming weekend (Friday 16th — Sunday 18th) will see Boonville once again host The County Fair, or as it is commonly called ‘The Best Little Fair in the West!’ All the usual events (Rodeo, Sheep Dog Trial, Apple Cup Soccer, Apple Bowl Football, music with Dean Titus and The Coyote Cowboys, games, rides, etc, etc) will be taking place, plus the many exhibitions and displays that show off the County’s best livestock and all the various talents that so many people in the county possess. With food and drink in plentiful supply and so many familiar faces to see, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t be there.

With The Fair as the obvious theme this week, here’s a little quiz for your enjoyment. Answers at the end,

1. In which year did the Fair first feature Sheep Dog Trials?

2. How many Mendocino County Fairs have happened up to now?

3. How holds the record for being the longest serving Fair Manager?

4. According to local folklore, what occurred on the Saturday night of The Fair in 1949?

Moving quickly on to discussions this week at The Three-Dot Lounge ‘ “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…Here’s some intriguing questions that were raised at The 3-Dot in the past few days about this weekend’s County Fair. Will the attendance be an increase on last year’s disappointing numbers? How much money, if any, will the Fair Board donate to high school sports? Given that school football and soccer games will attract large crowds there is no school sports booster concession stand allowed. This is despite the fact that the Friday night games will also be this year’s Homecoming games, an evening that normally brings in significant funds when held at The Fairgrounds on a different weekend, as it always has in the past. Will the infamous “Large-breasted Boonville Flasher’ once again expose herself to Sheriff Tom Allman as he rides in the Parade? Will ‘King’ Ken Allen, former .V Brewery owner and last place finisher in the unofficial AV Mayor’s election a couple of years ago, show his face? If he does, will he then do his usual trick of pushing in at the front of the line for the Prather Dinner on Saturday night? Is Pickles the Clown going to show up and scare lots of small children? Will any local teenage girls run off with a Carny? Will any local school boys run off and become a Carny? Will the corn dogs be as good and as unhealthy as ever? And most importantly, will I win the Carrion-Eating Contest for the fifth year in succession? All this, and possibly more, will be revealed this coming weekend.

…At this point in our discussions I got up on my perch behind the bar and gave my annual pre-Fair speech to the assembled masses in the 3-Dot: “I would like to remind some of you, particularly the younger generation, that it is not all about the carnival rides and looking cool with your date, important though such pastimes certainly are. Try to also check out the various display halls of arts, crafts, agriculture, etc, along with the impressive livestock corrals, the traditional rodeo, and the always-exciting sheep dog trials. This Fair is a really unique event and one of a dying breed, so why not broaden your horizons and enjoy everything ‘The Best Little Fair in the West’ has to offer? In my humble opinion, that would be cool too. Trust me on this; you can thank me later.”

…From our 3-Dot regular, The Old Buzzard, comes a follow-up report in his insightful series, ‘Forget The Rapture and worry about The Approach of the Apocalypse.’ Having pointed out the declining standards in student dress codes last week, Buzzard now reports, “I flew over to Europe and performed many hours of research into the school systems over there. It appears that the vast majority of public high schools now enforce the wearing of school uniforms. The movement against uniforms had its way for about 30 years or more from the mid-70s but, over the last several years, uniforms are have been re-introduced and have successfully countered the disturbing trends amongst schoolchildren as they compete to look ‘cool.’ Apart from the facts that uniforms are less expensive than trendy clothes, and that the kids look smart and ready for academic study, they even feel a greater sense of pride in their school and I actually think it also raises their IQ’s a little too.” Once again, The Buzzard calls it like it is.

And with that said, here is a related Quote of the Week. It comes from that Greek writer of famous fables, Aesop, whose wise metaphor on clothes goes, “It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.” Let’s hope the kids know what a metaphor is and act accordingly.

I’m outta here. But first, with the hot weather still with us, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; children too I suppose. Otherwise, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. One final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at

Quiz Answers. 1. In 1976 was the first year of the sheep dog trials. The dogs and their handlers will be dealing with the often-irrational sheep once again at the usual time, Sunday, Sept 18th at 10am. 2. There have been 83 Fairs since the first one in 1927, making this year’s the 84th. Actually, the first eleven Fairs were called “The Apple Show” indicating the importance of apples at that time in the Valley’s history. It was not until 1938 that the first “Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show” took place. 3. Harwood June was Manager for 19 years from 1937 to 1956, narrowly edging out Jim Clow who later served for 17 years. On that infamous night over 60 years ago there were a reported fourteen separate fights at The Fair. Just boys (and girls?) having a little fun, I’m sure, and just an old-style Valley ‘welcome’ for some of the newly arrived Okies and Arkies. It wouldn’t be too long (well, 20 years or so) before these groups got together and gave a similar ‘welcome’ to the hippies and back-to-the-landers. Good for them, I say. Now go out and “Get your Fair on”!

One Comment

  1. Rena Estes September 20, 2011

    I lived in Anderson Valley from birth to some 20 years ago. But still consider it “my hometown” and have loads of family and friend still in the valley.
    I missed the fair and the “multi-year class reunion”. Would like to hear more about it.
    Keep up the good work, Turkey Vulture!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *