As a life-long desert dweller October has always been my favorite month of the year!
It beats out the zaniness of September when myself along with BOTH of my little brothers and countless friends celebrate birthdays! It trumps holiday months like November and December which are filled with fervent feasting with familia and exchanging of gifts with loved ones! Yes, there are many reasons for this personal preference from being a big-time horror buff and Halloween becoming my favorite holiday of the ENTIRE YEAR, probably because my Reformed Baptist parents didn't let us celebrate it growing up, to the best weather in the country we experience in Phoenix as the season changes coupled with the savory scents and flavors of the culinary variety that appear only during this time of year. Yet while my biggest reason for this annual longing may sound 'corny' to some, pun VERY much intended, I still stand by the return of the Arizona State Fair as the thing I look forward to the most every October and with significant reason.
No matter where you are in the world any type of 'Fair' whether State/County/Village/School is the kind of event that is always a cause for celebration though in my case our State Fair here holds just a tad bit more meaning. My Yaya and Papa, as I so fondly referred to the grandparents from my father's side, lived in a home that was right smack dab on the southwest corner of McDowell Road and 17th Avenue which is literally directly across the street from the AZ State Fair's southern entrance. Needless to say, since I spent so much time growing up at their Casa I took countless trips every year with my Yaya to binge on corn dogs and Indian Fry bread then try to keep it down while jumping on whatever crazy carnival ride I was tall enough to get on while my Papa stayed back at the house making a sizable profit parking cars on his property at what amounted to a near VIP caliber spot for patrons. Those fond recollections from my childhood Fair excursions include begging for a Skeletor action figure in the commercial exhibits that gave me nightmares when I left it by my bedside later that night, swirling the spinning apples so fast that my Yaya did in fact lose those corn dogs we'd just eaten and being the site for the first rock concert I EVER attended to see THE MOODY BLUES with my folks, a moment so monumental in my mind that I wrote an article chronicling it last December on EXAMINER for your reading pleasure here: http://www.examiner.com/article/sojourn-with-your-children-s-children-s-... That is one of the things that keeps me consistently excited to come back year in and year out, besides the abundance of amazingly unhealthy deliciousness scattered all across the midway, and that's seeing the spectacular series of live music which from what I have witnessed the last few seasons seems to just get better and better every year!
Veteran's Memorial Coliseum was the perennial performance venue for decades in the Phoenix Metro area long before the Suns left the "Madhouse on McDowell" for their shinier new digs at America West Arena, eventually renamed US Airways Center. Long before places like Comerica Theater, Jobing.com Arena and various others popped up to compete for where big name artists would play in Arizona the Coliseum was the best and only destination with groups like LED ZEPPELIN and THE DOORS playing there when my father growing up across the street with my Yaya and Papa spent his nights cleaning floors before eventually working his way up to being head usher. To this day any performers who take the stage there sound fantastic in this medium sized venue which will be hosting bands that are anything but over the next three weekends. There's something for just about everyone from the classic rock stylings of ZZ TOP and CHEAP TRICK, local hero and former REFRESHMENTS frontman ROGER CLYNE AND THE PEACEMAKERS, THE WANTED and KIDZ BOP KIDZ are there to appeal to the younger crowd who are in many instances experiencing the State Fair for the first time, SNOOP DOGG/LION and the annual OLD SCHOOL JAM got your hip-hop/soul/reggae on lockdown, ALABAMA SHAKES bring some young bluesy blood to the festivities, and former Valley residents MEGADETH bring ferocious face-melting Metal after tearing up the Coliseum three years ago. Even JERRY LEWIS is doing a stand-up set that is sure to have funny bones breaking, rounding out a list of favorites that can be seen in it's entirety on the AZ State Fair website here: https://azstatefair.com/concerts!
As a child the State Fair is new and exciting! As an adult its a walk down memory lane even if those walks are never quite the same but that's far from a bad thing, just differently approached is all. Back in the day the top priorities were probably rides galore which may lose their luster after a trip or two to Six Flags and countless carnival games, where as now it's the constantly killer concert series and discovering the most incredible fried food the various vendors in their crazy creativity have to offer. Altered interests still don't make the Fair any less enjoyable, especially if you bring some little ones along with you because in the end it's all about maintaining a terrific tradition. My Yaya and Papa have both been gone for over a decade now, and the home across from the fairgrounds that I eventually lived in myself during my 20's, forging a whole new array of State Fair memories, is no longer there but as an adult I always feel like a kid again every October when I stroll through those red barns where the sights, sounds and smells of the Arizona State Fair hit me all at once and transport me to a place that really doesn't seem that far back whenever I think so intently about it in those nostalgic surroundings. As we grow older the more important reminiscing becomes otherwise those memories start to fade away. So whether continuing yours or just beginning, it's a place filled with fun you'll never forget!
GOOGLE Jaime En Fuego for links to talk smack and kick feedback at me on Twitter and Facebook, find all my published writings as the Phoenix Concerts Examiner and the JAIME' EN FUEGO ROCK SHOW on Youtube featuring concert footage plus local Arizona artist spotlight segments then don't forget to hit 'SUBSCRIBE' on those pages and do that LIKE/SHARE thing Amigos! Por fa y Gracias!