Photo courtesy of LA County Fair website
Photo courtesy of LA County Fair website

The 89th edition of the Los Angeles County Fair opens Friday at Fairplex in Pomona with animatronic dinosaurs, ice skating and snow sledding joining the traditional rides, food and agricultural displays.

“Jurassic Planet” combines 35 animatronic dinosaurs with a hands-on dinosaur museum, live shows and a  fossil prep lab and dig with paleontologists.

The other new-for-2016 attractions are:

— “Let the Games Begin,” which explores the origins and science of baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf and soccer with themed displays, hands-on activities and rare memorabilia;

— “Our Body: The Universe Within” an exhibit of 200 uniquely preserved human specimens; and

— “Watercolors: The Art of Flowers,” re-creations of famous floral paintings along with walk-through landscapes and classes taught by floral experts.

Additions to the fair’s food offerings include deep-fried hot sauce, butter and pizza; vegan burritos, tacos and nachos; chicken and waffle on a stick; French toast bacon bombs; truffle-gouda bacon fries; bacon-wrapped baked potatoes and porkabello kabobs, baby portabella mushrooms stuffed with gouda and wrapped in bacon.

“Contrary to popular belief, all four of the food groups can be found at the LA County Fair,” interim CEO Michael Ortiz said. “Visitors will find hundreds of healthy options ranging from salads, wraps and smoothies to sushi, lean protein choices, produce and rice bowls and the freshest fruit and vegetables, some of it grown right here on our farm.”

The fair’s End of Summer Concert Series begins Friday night with the “Old School Funk & Soul Festival,” with The Brothers Johnson, Rose Royce, The Original Lakeside, Heatwave, Evelyn “Champagne” King and Jimmy Walker.

Other artists scheduled to perform include Bad Company (Saturday); Camila (Sunday); The Isley Brothers and The O’Jays (Monday); WAR with Tierra & Malo (Thursday); Blondie with The Smithereens (next Friday); Iggy Azalea (Sept. 10); Gabriel Iglesias (Sept. 11); DNCE with LunchMoney Lewis (Sept. 15); “I Love The 90s” featuring Vanilla Ice, Kid N Play, Color Me Badd, All 4 One, Tone Loc and Young MC (Sept. 16); Lee Brice with Jon Pardi (Sept. 17); Los Temerarios (Sept. 18); Ramon Ayala and Bravos del Norte (Sept. 22); Tower of Power & Los Lobos (Sept. 23); Billy Currington with LeAnn Rimes (Sept. 24); and Chicago with Grand Funk Railroad (Sept. 25).

Fair organizers are giving fairgoers opportunities to donate, volunteer or become involved through the “Dare to Care” program.

Blood drives will be held during each of the Wednesdays during the fair’s run (Sept. 7, 14 and 21) with guests donating a pint of blood from noon to 5 p.m. receiving one free admission for any day of the fair.

The donated blood will be given to the American Red Cross and City of Hope. Participants pre-registering with those organizations will receive free fair parking at the Fairplex Sheraton Hotel the day they donate.

Admission is free from noon-5 p.m. on Fridays by donating five canned goods, which are given to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and local charities.

Free admission is also available from noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays by donating at least five new or unwrapped school supplies, which will be given to schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Inland Empire United Way School Tools Program.

Requested supplies include boxes or packages of crayons, markers, pencils, highlighters and erasers; notebook; lined notebook pager; and pencil cases.

Friday will be the first of 12 community days, with a daily parade featuring local dignitaries, high school bands, classic cars and floats, a heroes presentation and other city-specific surprises. Pomona will be the community celebrated today.

The weekend fair admission prices are $20 for adults and teenagers ages 13-59; $15 for adults age 60 and older and $12 for children ages 6 to 12. The weekday prices are $14 for adults and teenagers 13-59, $10 for adults 60 and over and $8 for children 6 to 12. Children 5 and under are free throughout the fair.

A season pass is available for $29.99.

The only price change from last year is a $2 increase to the weekday price for adults and teenagers ages 13-59.

Admission is $2 from Wednesday through Sept. 11 for active and retired military, veterans, reservists, firefighters, police officers and paramedics with identification, with one additional guest also eligible for $2 admission. $1 of each admission will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Admission will be free for adults 60 and over with identification from noon-3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The weekend prices will be in effect on Monday, which is Labor Day.

An additional $5 each is required for admission to Jurassic Planet, Our Body and The Igloo, the skating and sledding venue. Children 5 and under are admitted free to Jurassic Planet and Our Body.

Parking is $15, with valet parking at Gate 3 $30. A season parking pass is available for $60. All parking prices are unchanged from last year.

On the opening weekend, the fair will be open from noon-midnight today, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday. The hours for the rest of the fair are noon-10 p.m. Wednesdays; noon-11 p.m. Thursdays; noon- midnight Fridays; 10 a.m.-midnight Saturdays; and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays.

Following Labor Day, the fair will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The fair will end its run on Sept. 25.

The fair evolved from a commercial-industrial show first held along the Southern Pacific railroad siding in downtown Pomona in 1921. It proved so successful that the businessmen who produced it held the first Los Angeles County Fair in October 1922.

The fair has been held annually at Fairplex since 1922, except from 1942- 47, when the facility was being used by the U.S. Army, including as a prisoner of war camp for German and Italian soldiers and a relocation camp for Japanese Americans.

—Staff and wire reports

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