Satire: Why you should boycott the Ventura County Fair


Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Alex Dodos, Writer

Although we are just two months out from the last Ventura County Fair, it’s not too early to make a commitment to boycotting it next year. After 143 years, it should be obvious that the Fair is nothing but a parasitic ritual kept alive by cultural inertia and rampant consumerism. The facts lay this bare. Be it hucksters pushing fake Jordans on gullible Ventura High School jocks, grossly overpriced straw hats, kids hurling on fairgoers from that ride with the swings, low-quality R&B music, rigged games promising cheap stuffed animals that will become chew toys or beauty contests among hordes of disgruntled-looking animals awaiting their slaughter, the whole thing is a scam. Most importantly, with every year we choose to feed the parasite, it feeds off of us—the citizens of Ventura. 

But you protest: “Free concerts, fireworks, yummy food, friendly staff, what’s not to like?” as one Google review reads. Why ruin the fun for everyone else just because you don’t like it? After all, nobody is forcing you to go. 

While we can get caught up disputing the merits of the Fair experience inside the gates, it mustn’t distract us from the real problems that lie outside the gates, for it is there that the case against the Fair becomes too hard to reject. 

The Ventura County Fair is not “fair” to anyone (and by “anyone,” I mean myself). Those eleven dreadful days are nothing more than a passing reminder that summer is nearing its end and that I probably should have done more with my time. Even if I try to lose track of the date, I know the Fair is in town when I start seeing knife marks on my bike lock. All of a sudden, it takes an hour to drive to the supermarket. Highway 101 turns into the Chinese expressway. The population of Ventura soon balloons by a factor of seven. Watching the Fair finally go is like seeing your country liberated from a military occupation. Once it’s gone, I’m left with PTSD walking past the lots where those mechanical dinosaurs they call “rides” are folded up and left to rust for a year until they get redeployed. I always make sure to spit in their direction.

So I may not be forced to go to the fair, but I am forced to live very close to it, and if your response to that is “just stay at a hotel someplace else,” then you are victim-blaming. Plain and simple. 

The Fair compounds all of the problems with Ventura. There are 3,437 people per square mile in Ventura, twelve times the average population density of American metropolitan areas. Knowing this, why do we then insist on inviting an annual surge of overfed, sweaty, raucous non-locals? The streets—the city’s veins and arteries—get clogged with buses, which are meant to give locals free, convenient access to the fair. In practice, however, most people drive their cars anyway and fill up the parking lot along with every nook and cranny of downtown. On a good day, I’d give the bus a maximum of four people per trip. I know because I rode in one once. 

Next time the Fair rears its ugly head, don’t pussyfoot in an effort to please your friends. Take a stand, and they will probably join you. Let’s work together to kill this parasite once and for all. 

What do you think?