[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 16
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Thursday, Sep 17, 2015

darrylmanzer0215Yesterday I went to the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. I had not been there since 1968 with the Hart High marching band. Things have changed a whole bunch.

Today was free for seniors. That means just like when I was in band at Hart, I didn’t pay admission. Something to remember, folks, since it might not be worth what I would have paid for it.

So it was the Antelope Valley Freeway to the Golden State then the Foothill; turn onto the Orange and east on the San Bernardino to Fairplex Drive. Since it was the middle of the week and middle of the day, the trip took a lot less time. Oh, in true California fashion, I don’t know the miles, but the time to drive it was around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Back in that far distant past when all of us Hart band geeks would board the buses for the long trip to Pomona, we kind of dreaded the trip. It took a couple of hours. Had to take the Golden State to the San Bernardino and exit in some place in the middle of no place.

We didn’t wear our maroon and grey uniforms on the bus but changed once we got there. We hated those uniforms. Wool and heavy and designed for football season in Chicago, not SoCal. And back then, we had white buck suede shoes, which meant that wherever we marched in any parade, there were going to be horses in front of us. Even at the fair.

The bands on this day sounded great, and horses were replaced by horsepower. Most of the hotrods in the parade were our dream cars of the ‘60s. I think it is safe to say – using that wonderfully descriptive word of back then – “stoked.”

countyfair1941The outdoor or garden model railroad I loved. I’ve got a lot of engines and track, so maybe someday I, too, can get back into that fun hobby. Might be good at Heritage Junction.

I guess what I was most disappointed in was how food vendors have taken almost every space on every street. It used to be quite pleasant to sit under a tree with that humongous hot dog slathered in relish and mustard with an over-sized cola and French fries. Now they have set up shaded areas and clog the streets of the fair so a marching band can barely pass in a column of twos.

The food variety isn’t much, either. You have the typical fair choices of fried, grilled and fried, and dipped in corn batter and fried. What they call “Southern” is some barbecue sauce poured over the entree and everything else in sight.

I don’t drink, and it isn’t a big deal if someone wants to drink around me, but just how many open-air bars does one county fair need? Seems you can find a bar just about any place in the “Fairplex.” Yep – that is new to me, too. “Fairplex.” What was wrong with “Fairgrounds?”

There are a lot of great exhibits and even the usual livestock. I didn’t attend the cow- or goat-milking demonstration. Did that once in Chesapeake, Va., at the Chesapeake Jubilee. That was a kind of county fair. Anyway, I sat on the milking stool and had a challenge from a city councilman. He was still trying to get the cow to release the milk, and I was on my second cow. I wasn’t asked to demonstrate again.

I learned a lot at this fair. Things like: The parking trams are for folks parked at least a mile away from the gates. If you’re closer, you get walk … and walk … and walk.

The walk wasn’t so bad, but once inside the gate, it was getting past the food stands and the folks milling around them. The map provided doesn’t really describe what each exhibition hall has except for some sponsor’s name and logo. Sort of walk in and guess what is inside.

I never did find the large horses and such. Saw a lot of small cows and sheep and goats and chickens. I’ll bet a lot of folks attending found out for the first time where an egg comes from. One kid remarked that he won’t eat eggs again, since that is what a chicken poops. He might have a point there.

Would I go again? Yes, with some reservations. I would study the map of the “Fairplex” well before I go. It is online. I will also go on another senior day so I won’t have to pay.

I will rent one of the electric scooter-wheelchairs. On senior day, it is a good idea to have a good defensive weapon. No need to ride the bumper cars. You can rent them and drive on the streets.

I also learned we don’t really use the names of freeways anymore. It is just the numbers. Well, I’m a native of Southern California. I liked the names. They kept the tourists confused. I never knew, though, that the 57 has been called three names. Didn’t know it was the Orange or Artesia or California Freeway. Of course, it is just “the fifty-seven” for all of the new folks.

And you can tell the new folks. They think a turn signal light has some meaning. I’m still amazed that many cars have those things. Wow. The things you can learn by going to the Los Angeles County Fair.

I’m amazed.


Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. Ron Kraus says:

    Hey, I was there yesterday and didn’t see you Darryl. Of course there were a few other people there too–free senior admission day really brings out the old folks. I’ve been going to the fair just about every year for the past 50 years and still love it. Re: the food, there’s some real good stuff there if you look–Shrimp po’ boys from Harold & Belles, margarita pizza from Cucina Italiana, award winning wine in the flower & garden building. A true Southern California tradition!

  2. Susie Evans says:

    I always love reading your stories. And I am dating myself, but I remember the names of the freeways and “stoked”. Thank you!

  3. C. Harris says:

    Those white-buck shoe looked so ugly after walking behind the horses
    in the parades. Bob Downs, William S. Hart band director would walk with the drum section and tell us to “step-left, step-right” to miss the “piles” left by the horses fresh off the farm. We had those little bags of chalk to “dust” them keeping them white. Ahhh the wool uniforms, when we finally got new uniforms we passed them on the Alemany High School. It was amazing that we could play and march at the same time. In class Bob used to throw erasers at our drum line as we were NEVER in his time.
    8 to 5 on the football field remember that?

Leave a Comment

Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
The Trump budget proposes decreasing funding to the Department of the Interior by $1.5 billion. Trump is calling for more drilling in national parks and monuments. He plans to open BLM land to drilling and fracking.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
We are quickly approaching the culmination of the year-long celebration of our city’s 30th anniversary. It is truly a time to celebrate all the hard work, dedication, perseverance and passion that took our City from being a tiny portion of Los Angeles County to the thriving third largest city in the county.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
This month marks an exciting milestone for the premier arts and entertainment district in Santa Clarita.
Friday, Sep 29, 2017
Kaepernick has never spoken of personally experiencing any negative interactions with the police. Appearances are he had a pretty nice life provided by people with white skin while living in a country that presented him with obvious, mind-boggling opportunities.
Thursday, Sep 28, 2017
Despite its close proximity to the city of Barstow, Rainbow Basin remains virtually undiscovered. It is well worth a visit. Visitors to the area can find scenic opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, camping, photography, sightseeing and horseback riding.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Governor Brown signed off on a new bill that will change local water retailers distribute water in SCV. Plus, a spicy and savory Saturday for charity. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, October 16, 2017
The Newhall School District's next Regular Board Meeting is Tuesday, October 17 at 6:15 p.m., and consideration of Newhall Family Theater approvals are on the agenda.
Oct. 17: Newhall School District Considers Newhall Family Theater OK
Master’s and Westmont College needed more than 90 minutes again Saturday to settle a Golden State Athletic Conference showdown in Santa Barbara.
Master’s Men Soccer Players Fall to Westmont in OT
Leaders from the CLWA and NCWC will meet in October, November and December to discuss their merger, which creates the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency as of Jan. 1.
Next Step: Water Agency Officials to Share Merger Details
Master’s women soccer players and coaches alike were adamant after Saturday’s top-10 matchup that Westmont’s 5-2 win wasn’t nearly as lopsided as the score suggests.
Westmont Tops Master’s Women’s Soccer 5-2
Although Friday the 13th is a day generally associated with bad luck, CalArts turned the superstition on its ear as the community celebrated the inauguration of its fourth president, Ravi S. Rajan.
CalArts Inaugurates Ravi S. Rajan as Fourth President
CalArts School of Theater faculty Janie Geiser brings her collage film program "Double Vision" to REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 16 at 8:30 p.m.
Oct 16: ‘Double Vision’: Recent Films by Janie Geiser at REDCAT
The promising signs the Mustangs showed in their Missouri opener paid off in the evening Friday when Master’s women’s volleyball picked up its first road win of the season.
Master’s Rallies on the Road, Nets Season’s First Win
College of the Canyons' women's volleyball team opened Western State Conference play in style, as the Cougars swept visiting West L.A. College in straight sets.
No. 11 Canyons Sweeps West L.A. at the Cougar Cage
Route 66 Classic Grill in Canyon Country will host a fundraiser for local victims of the October 1 Las Vegas shootings on Saturday, October 28, from noon to 4 p.m.
Oct. 28: Route 66 Hosts Benefit for Las Vegas Shooting Victims
A roundup of the Santa Clarita arts-related events for Oct. 16-20, 2017.
Oct. 16-20: Santa Clarita Arts Upcoming Events
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce's October mixer is set for Wednesday, October 18 at Atria Senior Living in Newhall starting at 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: SCV Chamber October Mixer at Atria
The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will host a series of "Great Futures" tours for local residents in an effort to get the word out about the club's programs and services.
SCV Boys & Girls Club Hosts ‘Great Futures’ Tours
A special meeting of the Santa Clarita City Council, the Planning Commission, the Parks, Recreation and Communnity Services Commission, the Arts Commission, and the Open Space Preservation District Financial Accountability and Audit Panel is set for Tuesday, October 17 at City Hall.
Oct. 17: Harassment, Abusive Conduct Prevention Training for City Officials
The Hart Indians outscored the Canyon Cowboys 35-18 at Harry Welch Stadium Friday, October 13, in the teams' 50th matchup, and Kevin Karzin, president of the SCV Photographers Association, contributed photos from the game.
Photo Gallery: Hart Indians Beat Canyon Cowboys 35-18
Gov. Brown has vetoed a President Donald Trump-inspired proposal that would have required presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the statewide ballot.
Brown Vetoes Bill Requiring Candidates Release Tax Returns
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a series of bills on Sunday calling for criminal justice reforms, including reduction of penalties for some gun and drug crimes and changes to the Megan's Law sex offender registry.
Brown Signs Bills for Criminal Justice Reforms
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
With the stroke of his pen Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated the Castaic Lake Water Agency and Newhall County Water District and replaced them with a new water agency for the Santa Clarita Valley.
Brown Signs Wilk Bill Merging SCV Water Agencies
1939 - Second, larger OLPH Catholic Church dedicated on site of first (10th & Walnut, Newhall) [story]
Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises celebrated the New York premiere of “Born to Dance,” the latest offering from its first-of-its-kind partnership with award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz and famed director/creator Daniel C. Levine.
Princess Cruises Celebrates NY Premiere of ‘Born to Dance’ With Schwartz, Levine
1980 - Phillies beat Royals in Game 1 of World Series; Hart grad Bob Walk is winning pitcher [story]
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored 17 student winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 44th Student Academy Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills Thursday night.
Medalists Revealed at 2017 Student Academy Awards
The Los Angeles Dodgers will play host to the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the 2017 NLCS at Dodger Stadium on Saturday starting at 5:08 p.m.
National League Championships Open at Dodger Stadium Saturday
Santa Clarita ranks No. 5 among Los Angeles County's 88 cities in the assessed value of all taxable real property and business personal property, according to the 2017 Annual Report released by County Assessor Jeffrey Prang today.
Santa Clarita No. 5 Highest Valued City in LA County
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and a coalition of other law enforcement agencies and community organizations will host the 9th Annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, October 16 from 8:25 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Oct. 16: Cyber Crime Symposium for Educators, Parents, Students
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, locals found out what it is like to be a school principal. Plus, there are some great events to head out to this weekend. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, October 13, 2017
Starting Monday night, Oct. 16, the California Department of Transportation will paint new temporary lanes on a section of Interstate 5 aka the Golden State Freeway in and near the city of Santa Clarita.
New Temporary Lanes Coming Monday on Interstate 5 in SCV
The William S. Hart Union High School District is looking for someone to become a personnel commissioner to serve a three-year term beginning December 1, 2017.
Hart District Seeks Personnel Commissioner for Classified Employees
The College of the Canyons baseball program and Playa Vista Orioles youth baseball organization will host a free instructional clinic for players ages 11-14 at COC's Cougar Field in Valencia on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Oct. 21: COC Baseball, Playa Vista Orioles Youth Classic
An alumna of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, Cinthya Medrano, is the first recipient of a Duane R. Harte Memorial Scholarship.
Cinthya Medrano Earns First Duane R. Harte Memorial Scholarship
The non-profit Santa Clarita Coalition has created a Facebook page to aid the Evans family after the mother of six children died in a car crash on Golden Valley Road.
Facebook Page Created to Aid Evans Family
The Golden State Gateway Coalition, a non-profit transportation education and advocacy organization based in Santa Clarita, has published the fall 2017 edition of its newsletter, "Interchange."
Golden State Gateway Coalition Issues Fall 2017 Newsletter
The Castaic Lake Water Agency's Budget and Rates Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 17: CLWA Budget and Rates Committee Meeting
A "Tip-a-Cop" fundraiser for the Special Olympics Santa Clarita Valley is set for the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews restaurant in Valencia on Thursday, October 19, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Oct. 19: Tip-a-Cop at Red Robin for Special Olympics SCV
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide hepatitis A outbreak on Friday, and the L.A. County Department of Public Health is on the case.
Governor Brown Declares Statewide Hepatitis A Outbreak