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

Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 17
1925 - Jenks Harris robs Piru bank of $11,000 [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...
Sunday, Dec 10, 2017
Derelict since the 1994 earthquake, the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall was the first productive oil refinery in the American West and is believed to be the oldest existing refinery in the world today. Unfunded restoration plans have come and gone. Now that the surrounding property is under development, will the promises be kept?
Friday, Dec 8, 2017
A National Memorial designation for St. Francis Dam will honor those who lost their lives in the nation’s worst engineering disaster and the role it played in ushering in a new era of oversight for dam construction.
Thursday, Dec 7, 2017
Eliminating net neutrality would allow Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum and AT&T to create a “slow lane” and a “fast lane” on the Internet, prioritizing certain companies over others and dictating what websites you’re able to visit and at what speed, or even blocking you entirely from visiting certain websites of your choice.
Monday, Dec 4, 2017
In his monthly message for December 2017, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin encourages residents to shop and party locally during the holidays to keep the cash in our community.
Friday, Dec 1, 2017
The big day is almost upon us and a year of celebrations is wrapping up. On December 15, 2017 our city will officially be 30 years old.
Thursday, Nov 30, 2017
Create and decorate your own holiday wreaths, centerpieces, candles and ornaments using a large assortment of fresh-cut greenery, pine cones and other beautiful natural treasures this weekend at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1925 - Jenks Harris robs Piru bank of $11,000 [story]
1902 - Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali), Gen. E.F. Beale's Syrian camel driver, dies at Quartzsite, Ariz. [story]
The National Weather Service has called a Fire Weather Watch for this weekend for Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains and valleys including the Santa Clarita Valley due to gusty northeast wind and low relative humidity.
Weekend Fire Weather Watch Called for SCV
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a 21-year-old man who had an outstanding warrant and was allegedly in possession of cocaine in Canyon Country early Thursday.
Bicyclist Arrested for Warrant, Cocaine in Canyon Country
Valencia-based Princess Cruises, voted the #1 international cruise line in Japan, announced its 2019 program featuring Japanese-built Diamond Princess returning for her sixth season, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe.
Princess Cruises Unveils 2019 Japan Cruise Program
Valencia-based Princess Cruises released its 2019 Canada and New England cruise schedule, featuring Regal Princess and Caribbean Princess on the line’s largest fall deployment and the opportunity to visit Greenland roundtrip from New York
Princess Cruises Sets Fall 2019 Cruises to Canada, New England
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department looks back at five years of work by its Domestic Highway Enforcement Team, which has disrupted the operations of the drug cartels by confiscating millions of dollars in illegal drugs and drug money.
Elite LASD Drug Enforcement Team Disrupts Cartel Operations
College of the Canyons quarterback Andrew Brito, wide receiver Desean Holmes and linebacker KJ Latu have been named to the 2017 Region III All-California Community College Football Team.
Brito, Holmes, Latu Represent Cougars on All-State Team
Tickets and sponsorships are now available for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce's 2018 awards ceremony and installation of new officers at Tournament Players Club in Valencia on Friday night, January 26.
Jan. 26: SCV Chamber of Commerce 2018 Awards, Installation Gala
Sponsorships are now open for the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation's 2018 Economic Outlook Conference, set for Thursday, March 8, 2018 at a location to be announced shortly.
SCV 2018 Economic Outlook Conference Tickets, Sponsorships Open
SetPoint Medical, a Valencia-based biomedical company developing therapy for chronic inflammatory diseases, has received approval from the FDA to initiate a pilot trial in the U.S. for patients with drug-refractory rheumatoid arthritis.
FDA OK’s SetPoint Bioelectronic Therapy Study for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., representing the United States - and states and regions leading on climate across the globe - joined world leaders at the One Planet Summit Tuesday, the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
Brown in Paris: ‘We Can’t Wait for White House to Wake Up’
The regular Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 19 has been canceled, according to a notification from the city of Santa Clarita today.
City Cancels Dec. 19 Planning Commission Meeting
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, December 19, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 19: L.A. County Board of Supervisors Meeting
L.A. County's Bringing Our Loved Ones Home Task Force officials unveiled their final recommendations, endorsing a plan to use a voluntary system of trackable bracelets to find people prone to wandering, like those suffering from Alzheimer’s or autism.
County Task Force Calls for Tracking Bracelets to Locate Lost Individuals
The Community Development Commission of the county of Los Angeles looks back on 35 years of advancing its core program areas: affordable housing and housing, community and economic development.
County Community Development Commission Marks 35th Anniversary
Metro is seeking two new members to join the Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee.
Metro Seeks 2 New Measure M Oversight Committee Members
The California Air Resources Board approved a $663 million low-carbon transportation plan Thursday to increase the use of clean cars, heavy-duty trucks, buses and freight equipment.
Air Resources Board OK’s $663 Million for Clean Vehicles
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its public safety and crime information report for Saugus (Zone 4) for December 4-10, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Shoplifting, Petty Theft in Saugus
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed his strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s illegal attempt to suspend the 2015 Clean Water Rule for two years.
California AG, 10 Others Oppose Feds’ Suspension of Clean Water Rule
Conservation groups on Friday lobbied a federal judge for permission to join a fight between the federal government and a ranching association over a trio of California amphibian species.
Conservationists Lobby to Join Fray Over Frog Habitat
1987 - Incorporation: Santa Clarita officially becomes a city [story]
With an offense that challenged the program’s single-season goals record, The Master’s University women’s soccer team was almost almost never out of any game it played: The Mustangs were always within striking range.
Lady Mustangs Within Range of Directors’ Cup Top Spots
When Ed Jackiewicz met Tera Trujillo in spring 2015, she was studying at a desk she’d carried to the corner of the California State University, Northridge soccer field, in a “time out” of sorts, unable to practice because she’d just earned a D in an economics class.
CSUN’s “Under Armour Faculty” Promotes Academic Success in Student-Athletes
When Rafael Munoz recalls his time at the Layer 8 Computer Security Club at California State University, Northridge, he feels proud and thankful.
CSUN’s Tech Education Makes Top 10 List
The city of Santa Clarita Arts and Events division is currently seeking proposals for solo exhibits for 2018 in the gallery space at The MAIN, the City’s newest arts venue in Old Town Newhall.
City Seeking Artists for 2018 Solo Exhibits
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.---CSUN Men's Basketball returns to the road for the final time in the non-conference season this weekend.
CSUN to Face-Off Against Formal Rival Eastern Washington
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Friday:
Dec. 15: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
This Friday and Saturday (Dec. 15-16), The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance brings their annual Winter Dance Concert to the REDCAT stage.
Dec. 15, 16: Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance Concert at REDCAT
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board has approved naming Dr. Collyn Nielsen as Chief Administrative Officer and Jan Hayes-Rennels as Director of Special Programs and Staff Development.
Hart Appoints Nielsen, Hayes-Rennels to District Office Positions
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The CSUN men's volleyball team was picked to finish third in the inaugural Big West Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll announced Thursday.
Big West Pre-Season Coaches Poll Puts Matadors Volleyball at No. 3
A 44-year-old transient was arrested by SCV Sheriff's Station deputies Wednesday afternoon after he allegedly tried to pick up his 8-year-old niece from a school in Santa Clarita.
Suspect Arrested in Attempted Kidnapping
It was a night to honor exceptional mentors at California State University, Northridge, but the five recipients of the 2017 Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring Awards just wanted to talk about their students.
CSUN Pays Tribute to Mentors Who Have Made a Difference
The words leapt right off the page and hung in the air, heavy, encircling the audience. Their creator stood, offering his gifts of verse — shared in a powerful baritone voice.
Literary Star Power Comes to CSUN
While critical fire conditions continue through Friday, the final numbers for the Rye Fire have been released.
Officials Release Final Numbers on Rye Fire
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board held it’s annual reorganizational meeting Wednesday night, naming Steve Sturgeon as Board President.
Steve Sturgeon Named 2018 Hart Board President