From the daily archives: Thursday, March 3, 2011

It’s Oscar Time Once More;
And Mid-Winter Fair Too!

WHEN YOU WRITE A WEEKLY COLUMN for 20 years, things have a tendency to take on a routine to them. Certain events come along every year at the same time and I wind up commenting on them at the same time.
So it is with the Oscars and the Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta.
This is the busy season for us with plenty of events happening to keep our reporters and photographers working all month. That’s because everyone wants to cash in on the Snowbird migration, which takes place during the first couple of weeks of April.
And the good people of the Valley pack in as many events as they can to keep their groups   prospering through the spring and summer.
What does that have to do with Oscar night? Nothing. Except that the calendar dates coincide regularly.
The wife and I love the Oscars. We watch the red carpet from as early in the afternoon as we can find them, through to the presentation of the Best Picture of the Year award. That takes place about four  hours later, but there are enough commercials to allow for a break to get more snacks and make snappy comments abut the show.
This year’s hosts, Anne Hathaway and James Franco kept things light and moving ahead.  An old curmudgeon like me even laughed out loud when Hathaway came out in a tuxedo, so Franco came out in an evening dress. Talk about being in drag!
We also liked the part where they remember all the people who had passed away during the year. With Celine Dion singing a tribute while the presentation goes on made it even better. If ever you  heard  an Angel, it would have to sound just like Celine.
The addition of 10 pictures to the Best Picture category makes it necessary to have a scorecard in order to follow who’s doing the best. But, unfortunately, things have gotten rather predictable because of all the forecasts and the awards shows that precede the Oscars.
It would be nice if someone would surprise the prognosticators and pick a film that nobody expected to win. At least it would breed some suspense into the presentation. Until that happens, the evening gowns, the high fashion tuxedos and the snappy patter of the hosts will have to do for entertainment. We’ll probably be there again next year and every year we can. Because it is definitely an American tradition, even though the awards have spilled over to international winners.
And  the show gives us an idea of what DVDs we should buy during the coming months. Too bad they don’t have the awards closer to Christmas.
THE CALIFORNIA MID-WINTER FAIR opens this week with  plenty of fun and excitement for everyone. First up are the Junior Livestock Auctions, which are always a major event for 4-H and FFA youths. They spend months raising their animals then get to show them off for the judges. The winners get the opportunity to sell them in the main judging arena the following weekend. That gives them the  opportunity to earn more money for their sale. There are several people who wait all year to bid on them too. They get to stock up their freezers for the year and help out the kids from the Valley. A lot of that money goes for college tuition too.
If you want to see some people work hard for the pride of doing a good job, then stop by the livestock barns and the animal shows during the first weekend.
My favorites are still the pigs, which run every direction except the one their owners would like them to go. Herding swine has to be the most physically demanding job for the young showmen and brings a lot of smiles to the faces of the audiences.
Take in the exhibit booths, some of the exotic animals that will be on display and even a few carnival rides if you’re of a mind to. Look for the local talent shows that have become quite popular over the years. After you’ve toured the fairgrounds, you can always get your feet massaged and even get a full body  massage, which is well worth the price. It’s all happening at the Fair!


Texting, dancing, guacamole making and good ol’ favorite cooking.
In keeping with its Green theme, this year’s California Mid-Winter Fair will offer some high-tech, environmentally friendly contests and also will be recycling some very popular activities from previous years.
“Fairgoers can start now, even before the fair opens–by texting the word “Green” to 88202,” said Fair CEO Theresa Garcia. “That will enable them to receive inside details, discounts and prize information only available to those on the California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta’s Text Messaging List.”
Participation in the Fair’s text campaign is free, but standard carrier messaging rates will apply.
Presale tickets are currently on sale until March 3 at various locations throughout the Valley: all Rabobank branches (including Walmart locations), Cardenas Market, El Centro; Sonic Burger, El Centro; Goyal’s Shell, Brawley and the Fair Box Office in Imperial. In addition, Family Value Pack are on sale at the Imperial Valley Mall Customer Service Counter as well as the Fair Box Office.
The 2011 California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta will celebrate Imperial County’s burgeoning alternative energy industry with a theme of “It’s a Green Thing, Celebrating Our Renewable Future.”
The texting contest will intensify Monday, March 7 during High School Madness. During that event, 12 text subscribers will be selected to receive a back stage meet and greet for them and a friend or parent–for a total of 24 people-Friday March 11 at the Swift Country Salute to Taylor Swift show in the grandstands. Another six will be selected to receive carnival ride POP wristbands.
And during the Swift Country Show, another six text subscribers (who must come to the concert wearing GREEN) will be selected to sing the last song of the show on stage.
Then there is the “Just Dance” Contest, which is replacing IV Idol. This new contest will begin with preliminary competition and the top three scorers will be finalists at the final competition 5 p.m. Saturday March 12 on the “Just Dance” Stage. The winner will receive a ribbon, and the title of Just Dance Champ through March 1, 2012. This competition is not affiliated in any way with any other “Just Dance” or talent competition.
Preliminary competition will be Saturday, March 5; Thursday, March 10 and Friday, March 11 on the Just Dance Stage, which is just north of the Hulsienda Building. Contestants must participate in one of the preliminary events, but have a choice of date. All will be from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Only solo dancers may enter; duets, trios, groups are not eligible
Contestants can pre-register to be guaranteed a space in the preliminary rounds and all pre-registered contestants who qualify will be accepted.
Contestants may also register on-site the day of each preliminary round, although only a maximum of 10 contestants (pre-registered and day-of sign-ups) per preliminary competition will be accepted
Contestants must perform at the preliminary contest in order to be eligible for the finals and the top three overall scorers from the preliminaries will be invited back for the finals
Recycling of previous successful events is also in favor this year.
“Once again we will be celebrating the numerous Public Service Agencies in the Imperial Valley by coming together for some friendly competition in our ‘Guns and Hoses’ competition on March 9,” Garcia said “Imperial County’s finest will be put to the test – Strength, Speed, Agility, and Teamwork!” said Garcia.
The California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta will donate $1,000 to Imperial Valley’s Fallen Officers’ Memorial Fund on behalf of the winning team.
Also in the recycling category this year is the return of the Guacamole Contest (March 8) after being absent last year.
Entry deadline is March 4 and entry forms are available on the IV Expo website at
The grounds will be open 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 , however contestants will be able to enter and set up their equipment and decorations at 2:30 p.m.
Entry instructions for contestants will be determined and communicated to the contestants by Saturday, March 6.
Each contestant must make a minimum of one (1) gallon of Guacamole. Each contestant must submit one (1) pint container for judging, which will be provided at check-in time.
Guacamole will be judged on appearance, aroma, taste, texture, originality and recipe. The recipe must be submitted with application.

First place winner will receive $500; Second Place, $250 and Third Place, $100. Trophies also will be given for the Peoples’ Choice Award as well as for the Best Booth.
Then there are the very popular One day cooking contests that have been a staple of the fair for years.
The color green will dominate both the daily adult One Day cooking contests that run daily throughout the fair as well as the special youth one days contests on Saturday March 5 and March 12 as well as Sunday March 13.
Entry into these events are a sure way to gain a free admission to the fair. All are centered on the theme of this year’s fair, “It’s A Green Thing.”
To enter the contests and to get the free admission, just show up to the front gate at the appointed time with your homemade exhibit. The contests, which will be in the Lifestyles building, are being sponsored by a number of Valley businesses.
While pre-registration using a form available on the fair’s website is requested, it is not required.
Adult contests this year include “It’s A green Thing Appetizers,” 6 p.m. March 4; Homemade Ice Cream, 6 p.m. March 5; Buffalo Wings, 2 p.m. March 6; Favorite Cookies, 6 p.m. March 7; Favorite Mexican Dish, 6 p.m. March 8; Favorite Slow Cooked Dish, 6 p.m. March 9; Any Chocolate Dessert,6 p.m. March 10; Favorite Asian Dish, 6 p.m. March 11; Favorite Italian Dish, 6 p.m. March 12 and Favorite Cupcakes, 2 p.m. March 13.
Youth (9-19 years old) Contests include Favorite Cookies, 1 p.m. March 5; Favorite “It’s a Green Thing” Dish, 1 p.m. March 12 and Favorite Cupcakes, 2 p.m. March 13.

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