Tag Archives: Fair

Antelope Valley Fair


The Antelope Valley Fair in Lancaster, CA

Minor Genre: 

Festival; Celebration


“One of the festivals we had growing up was the Antelope Valley Fair. I think these [fairs] go back to where every year, you grow a crop and all the farmers bring in their best livestock and crops and whatever and show off what they made. It’s a huge community coming together to have a celebration.

“In Lancaster, [the fair] was basically all of the kids who did FFA and 4H and would bring their show animals. Steers, pigs, and sheep were the main livestock. One year, I had a grand champion lamb that I showed. But [in addition to the livestock], you still had all the other arts and crafts and stuff and everything else. It always happened the last week of summer before school started.

“I was there every year, but probably when I was seven or eight was when I started 4H, and that was when we got really into it. But we probably went there just for fun my whole life. My dad’s older brothers did the haybaling competition; before everything was automated, guys would go out on trucks and have to lift these hay bales with pulleys and hay forks. They had tractor races, too –– basically anything associated with a farm. My uncles were haybaling champions for many years in the 1950s.”


Antelope Valley’s first main industry was agriculture, with farmers crowing crops such as alfalfa, various fruit, carrots, onions, lettuce, and potatoes. The city of Lancaster emerged as a bustling city with successful farming at the end of the 19th century, and in the 1980s, had a large increase in population due to the development of new housing tracts. The informant was born in 1974 and would have experienced the Antelope Valley Fair during the period of this population boom, which may have corresponded with a popularity increase in the county fair.

The informant’s memories of the Antelope Valley Fair suggests a heavy agricultural influence in both their personal life and in the city of Lancaster. He had a history of farmers in his family –– the informant’s father raised animals, and his uncles had experience baling hay –– which likely skewed his perception of the fair to lean more heavily on its agricultural experiences, particularly because the informant himself participated in 4H. Additionally, the farm-oriented activities such as competitive hay-baling suggest that success as a farmer was a highly valued trait in Antelope Valley during the time period.

Bubblegum Bubblegum

MR: “Oh…Did you ever play Bubblegum bubblegum in a dish, how many pieces do you wish?”

MG: Wait can you explain how it went?

MR: “When you are going to play a game and you need to choose a person, everyone has to put their shoe in the middle (puts foot in middle) then you say …”Bubblegum bubblegum in a dish, how many pieces do you wish?” oh and then whoever it lands on has to pick a number and then it continues until that number is reached. Whoever it lands on gets out until the last person is left.”

Context: We were talking about childhood games and this rhyme came up.

Background: Informant is twenty four years old and from the Los Angeles area. RR remembers playing this in school for tag or hide and seek and also with her cousins. She believes she learned this from the other students in her class. Then, she taught this to her little brothers.

Analysis: Children often teach other children folklore. I thought it was quite interesting that regardless of the fact that RR is two/three years older than me, I also learned this rhyme from other children in my school. It shows that folklore can live on for many years and now lives in our memories. This song/rhyme is a common example of children bringing order and structure to their play. This rhyme allows children to choose a leader in a fair way. Because the person it lands on the first time gets to chose a number it leads it up to fate, in a sense, to choose the person who will be “it.” It prevents kids from fighting over being chosen or not being chosen.

Other versions of this include using one’s fist to count rather than one’s shoes. For this version please see: https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=2776


The informant uses this response whenever someone says something isn’t fair.

“Fair is where you ride rides and eat hot dogs.”

She heard the phrase from her family and continues to use it. It is employes as a snarky response to someone who has said something that annoys her using the word “fair” playing on the two meanings of the word. There seems to be a common trope of folk responses to common statements and questions. I.e. “I’m hungry.” “Hi Hungry. I’m Bob.” or “What time is it?” “Time to get a watch.” I think people enjoy displaying their cleverness through these phrases.