Disclaimer: Everybody who goes to the Kern County Fair has a must list as unique as the faces of those licensed yet still off-kilter carnival prizes. This is just one woman's tale, so use it as a starting point and find your own moment of zentangle. (Really, the art form is being demoed in the home arts building starting Thursday.)
Have mercy: Those who got that TV reference know where this is going. John Stamos, aka Uncle Jesse of "Full House" fame, will perform with The Beach Boys. The actor and band go a long way back, into the 1980s when he befriended band members, later jamming on the drums and producing a 2000 miniseries about the band's origins. Expect "Kokomo" and all the klassics, er, classics you're expecting.
Let's eat: There's an entire story about what's new to eat at the fair but the joy of fair time is that you can go new or stick to the classics. Sure, restaurants in town bake potatoes and grill up some meats but do they package your food to eat on the go? Take that corn dog, that cinnamon roll and go see the sights!
The kitchen is heating up: Fair concessions are not the only major food activity this year. There's an interactive program, Kids Can Cook, sure to entertain families. Dianne Linderman, who has three decades of experience working with children to promote healthy cooking, hosts the show that will let kids take ownership in the kitchen. That's with parental supervision, of course.
If you like a little more competition in your cooking, there are two Student Chopped Contests featuring culinary students from Bakersfield College. The contestants will convene at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 and 28 in the Culinary Arts Department for a showdown involving taste, presentation and sanitation (they are students). Winners will receive scholarships but observers win a good time!
See the animals: With livestock such a major component of the fair, a stop by the barns should be on your list. Along with kids wanting to see all the animals groomed to impress, it's worth noting all the hard work that hundreds of Kern's youth (and their instructors and parents) put into raising these animals.
Ag-ventureland: While some local children have farm experience, others get a closeup look at the fair. This year, they can really get their hands dirty with this new attraction that features stations to milk a "cow," saddle, bridle and groom animals and even pooper-scoop (a key to domestic animal husbandry to be sure). There's also pedal tractors, steer roping, fishing and more. That should keep the kids occupied for at least 30 minutes.