Top: Dozens of youth gather round the stage in the center of the Tri-County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 4 in hopes of winning one of 10 new bicycles donated by Lis and Kevin Mazzu of McDonaldâ€™s and accompanying gift certificates provided by Aerohead Cycles. Above: The lucky winners. Photos courtesy Charles James
Fairs are ancient traditions which go back many generations, across many centuries. Even today, going to the local County fair is a childhood rite of passage for most Americans. The sights and the sounds of the carnival lights and music blend with the promising smells of delicious foods amid a cacophony of shouting carnival barkers alongside the excited squeals of laughter and excitement of fairgoers.
There are the buildings and stalls full of smells and the sounds of braying, neighing, lowing, bleating, clucking, crowing, gobbling and grunting of livestock as farm animals of every size and shape announce their presence. In other buildings, examples of local arts and crafts, foods, produce, paintings, photographs, poetry, and hobbies fill aisle after aisle with eye-catching displays. It is a cornucopia of experiences and accomplishments of rural life.
Adding to the excitement of this yearâ€™s Tri-County Fair was â€śKids Day,â€ť a program sponsored for the past six years by Lis and Kevin Mazzu, owners of the local McDonaldâ€™s Restaurants in Mammoth Lakes, Bishop and Lone Pine. More than 40 bikes have been given away over the last couple of years and this year another 10 bikes were raffled off to children at the fair. Hundreds of children entered the free raffle for the bikes as they entered the fairgrounds.
The 10 bikes raffled off this year were girlsâ€™ custom cruisers and BMX bikes purchased locally from Arrowhead Cycles. To sweeten the pot, Arrowhead Cycles gave each child winning a bicycle a coupon for a free bike helmet and bike tune-up.
One winner of a new BMX bike, 10-year-old Max Torres, had no difficulty deciding to give up his smaller BMX bike when he won a larger one at the raffle. Another winner, 8-year-old Havana Hart from Clovis, at the Fair with her mother Shawna and on a visit with grandparents and her father in Bishop, won a new bike after having her old bike run over by a neighborâ€™s truck the day before the Fair. Talk about providence.
Five age groups were eligible for the raffle, with one bike for girls and another for boys in each group. The winners of the bikes were 18 month-old Alden Fox Yule, 2-year-old Hailee Koontz and Harlee Wade, 3-year-old Cherish Dixon and Nicolas Downard, 4-year-old Sierra Kingsford, 8-year-old Havanna Hart, 10-year-old Max Torres and 11-year-old Nicole Rule-Davis.
Bikes are a part of almost every Americanâ€™s childhood, as are visits to the county fair. Another part of the American childhood experience is the local McDonaldâ€™s Restaurant, a part of Americana for more than 60 years. Combine all three together and you have the makings for a perfect â€śKids Day at the Fair.â€ť