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A Fresh Spin on Things at Youth Expo

Jazz bands played while children and adults looked at student art, animals, science projects and other exhibits Friday during the opening day of a youth fair that is expected to attract thousands.

The Youth Expo will run through Sunday at the Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

Among the hundreds there Friday was Angela Finley, 5, who said she especially liked the farm animals on display. She petted a horse’s nose and yelled at the pigs and donkeys. “I’ve seen pigs before when my whole class went to a farm,” Angela said, “and I’ve been riding a pony before.”

Fair-goer Bao Tang of Westminster investigated the snake exhibit, where a live 100-pound python lay curled in a glass box. “It makes me scared,” Tang said after peering at the motionless snake.

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Becky Brewer, the pet-shop owner who brought the snakes, said many people are initially afraid of the large reptiles but that “by the time they leave, they go, ‘I want something like that,’ ” she said.

Tang, a community health educator, said her favorite fair item was a student poem calling for a world without war or violence.

“Even the youths worry about crime,” she said. The poem, by a 14-year-old Irvine student, is called “I Wish We Had a Perfect World.”

More than 12,000 people attended the youth fair last year, according to fair officials. Students entered about 20,000 items in various contests this year.

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