As summer ends, time for one last hurrah at the L.A. County Fair

Summer is ending, and so is the L.A. County Fair

Summer doesn't end here the way it does in other places. The sun keeps shining. The days stay hot.

Still, even in T-shirts and shorts, we feel its departure. We undergo a seasonal shift.

We know we have to get back — to work, to school, to more regular bedtimes.

And so we slowly start to rein ourselves in.

If it seems too soon, temperature-wise, for the Hollywood Bowl to go dark, maybe chalk it up to this autumnal straitening.

Sure, we could keep on spending long, festive nights outside, swaying to music, sipping wine, eating Brie. But most of us won't. We'll pull back.

So it only makes sense that the L.A. County Fair, like the Bowl, will shut down Sunday night.

Summertime super-sized, the fair isn't suited for fall.

How many will go for that last fling to the Fairplex in Pomona this weekend, to the land of the Totally Fried Twinkie where less is never more?

How many will come equipped with wagons to shop until they drop? Zip around on comfy electric scooters from the pig races to the pulled pork to the Dippin' Dots?

How many will let the kids stay up way too late and feed them sugar galore? Eat blocks of curly fries bigger than bricks? Decide there's no harm in trying the chocolate-dipped bacon just this once, or tasting that triple-decker cheeseburger with Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts for buns?

At the fair, the very air smells like powdered sugar, cotton candy, sizzling fat.

"Only during the fair, we're allowed to eat anything," Lulu Andrade of Lincoln Heights said on a recent afternoon as she held a hot funnel cake on a paper plate and watched her 5-year-old son, Andrew, joyfully press his nose and chin into his vanilla ice cream cone.

Patty Kasadate, 62, and daughter Miye, 25, of Walnut, hunkered down at a table, taking turns taking bites out of a bacon-wrapped hot dog so big that they joked that it was "mother-and-daughter-size."

At the fair, everything's bigger than big or smaller than small. Everything's extraordinary, or so the signs scream.

"Tiny Tim, The Smallest Horse, Too Small for Even a Baby to Ride!"

"Hercules, the Giant Horse!"

"Giant Florida Gator!"

See a zonkey bred from a zebra and a donkey. Watch a freak-show performer pop his eyes nearly out of his head. Become a human hamster inside an enormous see-through plastic ball, slipping and sliding across the surface of a pool.

Shoot the Hoop. Roll A Ball, Break A Dish. Win a prize. Take home your very own plush minion.

Wait until the sun sets and walk by buccaneers in battle to get to the enormous glowing lanterns in the shapes of the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China, of panda bears and dragons.

Life after summer gets more sedate, more predictable, with the routine squawk of the morning alarm, the daily pile of homework. Weeknights become weeknights again. Eat your dinner, brush your teeth and lights out.

Fight the facts. Hit the freeway. Drive to Pomona. Until 10 p.m. Sunday, live large.

nita.lelyveld@latimes.com

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